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Proposal to change September 1 recruiting contact date will not move forward

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The National Fastpitch Coaches Association will not formally lobby for a change to the September 1st recruiting contact date, multiple sources confirmed to JWOS on Tuesday.

According to additional sources, the decision comes following a popular vote of the Division I membership and a meeting of the NFCA’s Head Coaches Committee that took place on Tuesday morning. Roughly 60% of the Division I coaches that cast a vote were in favor of pushing back the contact date, but there was not an overwhelming majority in favor of the proposal. Throughout the proposal’s ultimately-brief lifespan, a so-called super majority was not only needed to push the proposal forward toward legislation, but was also said to be desired for the coaches association to formally lobby for the proposed change.

Earlier in the summer, Division I coaches were presented with a potential proposal that would have changed the September 1st date when initial contact is allowed between Division I coaches and recruits in the class of 2022. July 1, 2021 was floated and generally accepted as a potential new date; reasons given for the proposed change included the lack of in-person recruiting opportunities during the most recent summer season.

Shortly after the initial proposal, JWOS spoke to several dozen Division I coaches across the country to gauge their individual thoughts on the proposal. The results of that survey showed a significant ideological divide within the game.

A number of coaches expressed support for the proposed change, with frequently stated reasons including a lack of ability to truly evaluate recruits both on- and off-the-field; the absence of some ACT and SAT test scores that would be needed to even be accepted to some colleges; and a desire to protect coaches from feeling forced into snap decisions and signing student-athletes that could later cause issues within a program.

Those opposed to the proposal noted that the September 1st date remaining in place did not require coaches to make snap decisions, but gave those who had confidence in their evaluations simply the opportunity to do so. Several mid-major coaches who classified themselves as opposed to the proposal also expressed concern that such a date change could widen the divide between mid-majors and Power 5 schools.

Various travel ball coaches expressed vehement opposition to the proposal; at one point in time, NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman and Kate Drohan, the organization’s board president and Northwestern head coach, met with travel ball coach Greg Borzilleri, who authored an open letter that was endorsed by a number of travel ball coaches.

Tuesday’s decision comes exactly three weeks before the September 1st date that will now officially continue to serve as the opening of allowed contact for the class of 2022. The Division I dead period for in-person recruiting currently runs through August 31st and is expected to be extended beyond that date. Tuesday’s decision has no bearing on that aspect of the recruiting process, as phone calls and correspondence are allowable during a dead period.

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