You're Invited to the Third-Party Party


So we have new legislation that forbids Division I softball coaches from having recruiting contact of any kind with players or their parents until Sept. 1st of that player’s junior year in high school. Not long after this topic came up someone asked the question, “What would keep a college coach from using a third party, i.e. travel ball or high school coach, to relay their intentions to a player.


Alarm bells starting rings and sirens started blaring! Without eliminating the use of third parties to circumvent, the new rule it would be useless. Very wise move, if I have to say so, by the NFCA and their coaches who pushed so hard for this change. It’s as clear as day that the use of a third party is completely prohibited, no excuses, no exceptions and penalties are coming for this who choose to break this rule.




College Coach: “Coach, your kids played great! I really love your shortstop, she is a special player.”


Travel Ball Coach: “Thanks Coach! She really loves your school!”


College Coach: “Well, you know I’m not really allowed to talk to you about her specifically but she is the kind of player I would LOVE to have on my team, of course, when I can talk to her in three years!”


Travel Ball Coach: “Thanks Coach, I’ll be sure she knows that!”


Or how about…


College Coach: “Coach your kids played great! I’m really happy I got to watch Sally play, even though I can’t talk to her about her commitment to our program for another three years!”


High School Coach: “Thanks Coach! Sally and her parents are really getting worried about your offer. You haven’t talked to them in over 6 months!”


College Coach: “Well coach, you know I’m not allowed to talk to Sally until September 1st of her junior year. I know three more years seems like a long time. But you’ve known me for a long time now, have I ever backed out of a promise?”




College Coach: “Thanks for calling Coach! It was great catching up with you about the rest of your team. I’ll be sure to come out to see you play this weekend!”


Travel Ball Coach: “That’s great, Coach! Madison knows you can’t talk to her until September 1st but it would mean the world to her to see you in the stands. Can I tell her that if you are here then she should know that you are going to honor the scholarship offer you made last year?”


College Coach: “Coach, you know the rules, I can’t say anything like that but I wouldn’t be coming to the game if I didn’t want to see Madison!”


Violation of the new rule? You tell me.


Violation, loophole, gray area, or just a couple coaches shooting the breeze? I’m just saying!


About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.