Information for Prospective Student-Athletes

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This page provides information for any prospective student-athlete (“prospect”) interested in becoming a Bronco, and his/her family, concerning NCAA rules on recruiting and eligibility.

Click on the links below to navigate directly to:

Starting the Recruitment Process | Rules on Recruiting | National Letter of Intent | Eligibility

For questions or requests for additional information, please contact the Compliance Office.

If you are interested in becoming a Bronco, please contact one of the coaches in your sport.  Contact information for coaches may be found in our staff directory.

Please note that coaches are only permitted to contact prospects after the first permissible contact date in their sport (see below).  As a prospect, however, you are allowed to reach out to a Santa Clara coach at any time.  A coach may speak to you as long as you initiate the conversation.  If you are unable to reach a coach and leave him/her a voicemail, the coach is not permitted to return your call prior to the first permissible contact date.  Likewise, if you send the coach an email, he/she cannot reply until the first permissible contact date.


Are you a prospect?
A prospect is any individual who has started classes for the ninth grade, or any individual to whom the University provides any financial assistance or other benefits that it does not provide to prospective students generally.

      You become a recruited prospect as soon as any of the following occur:

  • You are provided with an official visit;
  • You or your family have an arranged, in-person encounter with a coach off-campus;
  • A coach initiates or arranges a telephone call with you or your family on more than one occasion; or
  • You are issued a National Letter of Intent or a written offer of athletic aid.

Who may recruit you?
Only Santa Clara coaches may recruit you. (SCU Staff Directory)

Other individuals related to Santa Clara University, including boosters and alumni, may alert Santa Clara coaches of prospects who they believe would make a positive addition to a particular team.  However, they are not permitted to: 

  • Contact you or your parents in person, by telephone, in writing or through social media;
  • Contact your coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate you;
  • Congratulate you on committing to Santa Clara University; or
  • Directly or indirectly make arrangements for you, your relatives or your friends to receive money, gifts or any benefits not otherwise available to you.
Other than approved athletic and other financial aid from Santa Clara University, you, your family and your friends may not accept any gifts, benefits or arrangements offered or provided in an attempt to secure your enrollment.

When and how may coaches recruit you?

NCAA rules governing the means and timing of recruitment vary by sport. See your sport’s recruiting guide for more information (


Prospects may take unofficial visits to the University at any time, except during a dead period (  Unofficial visits are paid for entirely by the prospect (or their parents/legal guardians).  Prior to visiting campus, you are encouraged to contact a member of the coaching staff to make sure you are permitted to visit campus at that time.

As a prospect, you are allowed to take one (1) official visit to Santa Clara University prior to graduating high school.  Official visits are paid for by the University.  Only a Santa Clara coach may offer you an opportunity to take an official visit.


What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospect and the University.  By signing an NLI, a prospect agrees to attend the University for one academic year (three quarters).  In turn, the University agrees to provide athletically related financial aid for one academic year (three quarters). (Note: verbal commitments are not binding on either the student-athlete or the institution)

NLI Signing Dates
Regardless of when a prospect receives an NLI, he/she may not sign the NLI before the initial signing date in his/her sport.  NLI Signing Dates are available at

Penalty for Failure to Satisfy NLI
If a prospect does not attend the institution for one (1) full academic year, he/she may not compete in intercollegiate athletics until he/she has completed one (1) full academic year in residence at a subsequent institution.  The prospect shall also be charged with the loss of one season of intercollegiate athletics competition in all sports.  A prospect may petition for a release from his/her NLI to avoid the aforementioned penalties.

Coaching Change
A prospect signs an NLI with an institution, not with a coach. If a coach leaves, the prospect is still bound by the provisions of the NLI.

Recruiting Ban
After a prospect signs an NLI with an institution, coaches at other schools are prohibited from recruiting the prospect.  It is the responsibility of a prospect to inform institutions that he/she has signed an NLI. 

This reference guide is intended to be a resource. Additional NLI regulations and procedures are located at


Initial Eligibility
To be eligible for practice, competition and financial aid, incoming freshman (and certain transfers) must be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.  This requirement applies to all student-athletes, including those on scholarship and walk-ons.
The Eligibility Center certifies both the academic and amateur status of prospects (and enrolled student-athletes). 

Academic Certification
Prospects must satisfy academic requirements as certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.  Those requirements are available at:

Amateurism Certification
Amateurism certification ensures that NCAA amateurism regulations are applied uniformly for incoming student-athletes.  As part of the certification process, you will be asked to answer several questions regarding your sports-participation history.  For additional information on the amateurism certification process, please visit:

You are encouraged to register with the Eligibility Center ( at the beginning of your junior year of high school.  Once registered, you will receive a list of tasks that must be completed in order to receive the required certification.  Those tasks should be completed by the prescribed deadlines to ensure that you are certified as eligible prior to enrolling at the University.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice on any matters of NCAA compliance.  The contents of this site contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation.  Please contact the Compliance Office with specific questions.