Let’s start with what the difference between what a visit actually is.
An unofficial visit is when a recruit visits a school and pays their way to get there. Anytime you or your legal guardians visit a college campus that is funded by you. During dead periods you cannot speak to any of the coaches while visiting the campus. Three free tickets to a home game is the only thing a coach can give you during an unofficial visit. You can start taking unofficial visits as a sophomore. If a coach is interested in your playing skills then they’ll likely invite you to visit their campus. This is a good opportunity for you as a possible recruit to see what the college is all about. You can take as many unofficial visits as you would like.
The difference between that and an official visit is that the college programs pays for you as an athlete to take that official visit. They can fly you in or reimburse you for your driving expense included in the visit. There are also more rules surrounding the official visit that includes food, lodging, and other specific monetary amounts that are enforced by the NCAA.
The college has to be the one to invite you on an official visit. There are ways as a recruit to figure out if the coaching staff is interested in offering you a visit. The easiest way is to email or call the coaching staff expressing your interest in their program. If you are getting offers to visit schools on official visits then that school is probably interested in you as a possible recruit. This is when you need to sell yourself as a student-athlete.
- You can start taking Official Visits opening day of classes your senior year.
- You are allowed only 1 Official Visit per college and no more than 5 Official Visits to Division 1 schools.
- In Division 2 and 3 you can make one official visit per college.
- Official visits can’t exceed 48 hours starting when the recruit arrives on campus.
- Test score, high school transcript and NCAA eligibility center verification required before visit.