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South Carolina football recruiting extra: Inside the 2016-17 NCAA recruiting calendar

Learn what “dead period”, “quiet period”, and “in-person contact” means to the NCAA.

Florida v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2016-17 academic year begins on August 1, and with it comes changes in the football recruiting calendar. While it shifts from year to year, it is divided into four periods: the quiet period, evaluation period, dead period, and contact period.

Not sure what those terms mean? That’s OK. The good news? The rules are fairly clear-cut...for the most part. Let’s take a look at a breakdown of this upcoming year's recruiting calendar.

Date Coach can visit prospect's school Coach can visit prospect outside of his school Prospect can visit university and meet with the coaching staff
August 1-November 26, 2016 - Quiet Period x
September 1-November 30, 2016 - Evaluation Period (42 days selected by the university) x x
November 27-December 11, 2016 - Contact Period* x x x
December 12, 2016-January 11, 2017 - Dead Period
January 12-January 28, 2017 - Contact Period x x x
January 29, 2017 - Quiet Period x
January 30-February 2, 2017 - Dead Period
February 3-April 14, 2017 - Quiet Period

April 15-May 31, 2017 - Evaluation Period** x x
June 1-25; July 10-July 31, 2017 - Quiet Period x
June 26-July 9, 2017 - Dead Period

Quiet Period

A prospect can visit the university and meet with the coaching staff. However, a coach is prohibited from visiting a prospect at his school or outside of his school. During the fall quiet period, you’ll see high school seniors take their official visits (which they can do beginning with the first day of class at their high school). Note: the coaching staff can designate 42 days during the fall quiet period to serve as evaluation days. I’ll explain below.

Evaluation Period

A coach is permitted to visit a prospect's school for the purpose of evaluation, or a prospect can visit a university for evaluation purposes. However, no contact is permitted outside of the prospect’s high school. I should note that the NCAA’s definition of "contact" is basically anything beyond a simple "hello". Other than that? It’s a no-no.

Dead Period

This is the most restrictive of the four recruiting periods, prohibiting any in-person or face-to-face contact between a coach and a prospect. The prospect could still visit a school, but is basically invisible to a coach, and vice versa.

Contact Period

It’s wide open. Coaches can meet with prospects at his high school, outside of his high school, in home, etc. Contact period stories range from the straightforward to the absurd, and when we say absurd, we mean tree climbing, going to class with the recruit, sleeping at his house, drinking his milk, etc. Well, absurd to everyone but Jim Harbaugh.

What about letters, emails, tweets, etc.?

Written and electronic communication (which started with a simple fax/email but has now expanded to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social networks) are permitted throughout the year. However, the game has changed a little more. Beginning August 1, coaches are also allowed to like, retweet, share, or tag recruits on social media. Bud Elliott, SBN’s recruiting guru, breaks it down here.

This is just a breakdown of some key terms that many people may be wondering about. If you’d like to view the full calendar, you can do so right here and get a more detailed look at what I’ve explained in part above.

*-December 11, 2016 has been designated as a quiet period for JUCO prospects looking to enroll at a four-year college midyear, or in January.