June 15th: Offers, contact and new NCAA rules

AP101228130197_t600x440[1]June 15th has emerged as one of the primary dates on the Michigan basketball recruiting calendar. Many simply refer to it as “offer day” as it’s the first day that John Beilein will extend scholarship offers to prospects that have wrapped up their sophomore year of high school. Beilein’s offer policy is based on a choice to follow an NABC guideline, or request, but there are also important NCAA rules that come into play on June 15th.

Contact is the name of the game in the NCAA rule book. Beginning on June 15th, coaches are now permitted to make unlimited contact with prospects. Rule book:

Coaches will be permitted to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages with recruits after June 15 following their sophomore year. The deregulation extends to social media, where private messages will be allowed. Public messages continue to be prohibited because of the rule preventing institutions from publicizing their recruiting efforts.

More on June 15th and who should expect a Michigan scholarship after the jump. 

(The other major NCAA rule change will come into effect at the end of the calendar year as will-be juniors (this year’s class of 2014) prospects are allowed to begin taking official visits – expenses paid by the school – rather than waiting for fall of their senior seasons.)

The NABC guideline or “official request” that Beilein follows is that “basketball coaches not offer scholarships to — or accept verbal commitments from — high school prospects until June 15 following the player’s sophomore year”. It’s safe to say that not all programs follow these rules. Indiana, for example, picked up its first pair of 2014 verbal commitments in September of 2010. Several of Michigan’s top prospects – say Keita Bates-Diop and Devin Booker – already hold a handful of scholarship offers from other schools.

Beilein’s adherence to the principle has a number of positives and negatives. Last year there’s little doubt that the strategy worked. Beilein offered five prospects on June 15th last year: Monte Morris, Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Austin Hatch and Mark Donnal. Hatch and Donnal committed on the spot, Irvin and Walton joined a month and a half later. Beilein had all but wrapped up the class of 2013 – which currently ranks second nationally – before September.

Beilein has always been selective when offering scholarships. Rather than use offers to express interest, Beilein doesn’t offer prospects of any age until they have unofficially visited Ann Arbor. On one hand, that means Michigan is probably never going to be the first to offer a prospect. However, there will be no hesitation from Devin Booker when you ask who was recruiting him first – and he might just be able to bet that an offer is coming considering Michigan coaches were at every AAU game he played this spring.

Not offering until June 15th also has an underlying benefit: extended evaluation. John Beilein now has a chance to watch 2014 prospects throughout their entire prep season, during April live evaluation and at College Practice camp days before the offer date. Most prospects aren’t committing before June 15th after their sophomore seasons, just three Rivals 2014 top 50 prospects are off the board and Michigan isn’t truly putting itself behind the eight ball by much.

As for what to expect tomorrow, there are two guarantees. The top two prospects on Michigan’s recruiting radar – Keita Bates-Diop and Devin Booker – have both taken unofficial visits to Ann Arbor within the last two weeks. We would be shocked if both prospects didn’t receive Wolverine offers on Friday. Beyond that expect the majority of the 2014 hotboard we posted to receive a number of phone calls, text messages and Facebook messages from John Beilein, Jeff Meyer, Bacari Alexander and Lavall Jordan. Prospects like Trevon Bluiett and Drake Harris are probably talented enough to receive scholarships but unlike Bates-Diop and Booker, they haven’t made recent unofficial visits to Ann Arbor.

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