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Minutes from a 2008 IWLCA meeting show a proposal barring verbal or written agreements before the end of a prospective student-athlete’s junior year. It never made it into the NCAA legislative cycle.

A 2009 IMLCA proposal to keep recruits from visiting coaches on campus before a specified date was considered too sport- specific by the NCAA. In 2012, the IMLCA ran into the legislative moratorium, Voelker said, in its proposal to limit recruiting contact until after sophomore year. Early commitments escalated furthermore during the NCAA’s

four-year moratorium on all legislative proposals. Spencer Parks (North Carolina) was the first sophomore to verbally commit in December 2009. In November 2012, Forry Smith (Johns Hopkins) became the first freshman to commit. Caitlyn Wurzburger (Syracuse) became the first eighth-grader from either gender to commit in January 2016. Brennan O’Neill (Penn State) became the first eighth-grade boy to commit in March 2016. In September 2015, the IWLCA Recruiting Issues Committee, led by Kimel and Penn coach Karin Corbett, submitted two proposals to the NCAA. The first amended the recruiting calendar and extended the dead periods when coaches could not recruit, and the second prohibited recruiting contact with prospective student-athletes until Sept. 1 of their junior year. That second proposal followed extensive surveying of their coaches and the lacrosse community, and 85 percent of coaches approved the measures. The IMLCA endorsed the recruiting proposal in December 2015.

The NCAA Student-Athlete Experience Committee voted in April 2016 for bans on unofficial visits and off-campus contact, but no restrictions on incoming telephone calls. College coaches saw this as a loophole that would render their proposal useless. They lobbied NCAA DI Council members about the importance of keeping the proposal intact, and Stenersen penned a poignant letter fighting for its approval. The lobbying efforts of the lacrosse community were rewarded when the NCAA DI Council supported the entire proposal, adding back in the telephone call ban, in June 2016. That move put the proposal into this year’s legislative cycle.

Haverford School (Pa.) product Forry Smith, now a freshman at Johns Hopkins, committed to the Blue Jays in November 2012.

Duke’s Kerstin Kimel and Richmond’s Dan Chemotti (right) have been instrumental in lobbying for early recruiting reforms.

A petition on the IWLCA website ( allows anyone in the lacrosse community to voice support. “There’s great value in a sport taking on a strong interest, to let their views be known,” said Texas Tech’s Brian Shannon, a member of the NCAA DI Council.


Lacrosse participation has leveled off, college transfers are rising, and coaches and players are burning out at a higher rate. The epidemic is not unique to lacrosse. According to a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of youth athletes quit organized sports by age 13. “It’s hard for [the NCAA] to be on the wrong side of us saying this is what is best for kids,” said Kevin Corrigan, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse coach. “We are at a tipping point,” said IWLCA president Alicia Groveston, the Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse coach. “Some sanity could be restored in the recruiting process.”

Parents also have felt a financial strain to pay for year-round play and events, and coaches may be missing players who can’t afford those commitments. Setting all recruiting contact back to Sept. 1 of junior year could reset the norm, bring fun back to the lacrosse landscape and lead to better overall experiences, advocates of the proposal say.


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