St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) coach Kathy Jenkins is one of the nation's most successful high school coaches, having won more than 700 games in her coaching career. She weighs in on the recently passed NCAA legislation that limits early recruiting with a message to student-athletes.

Recently, the NCAA passed recruiting legislation which will have an immediate impact on the sport of lacrosse. According to the new legislation, ALL recruiting contact and communication begins September 1 of a prospective student-athlete’s junior year.

As a coach for the last 40-years, I am excited that this legislation passed because it puts the recruiting process back on a timetable that makes more sense for everybody. As a student-athlete, you will have the gift of time to develop before you decide where to attend college. You can enjoy your freshman year of high school without going on college visits. You can make mistakes and learn from them to improve your game. You can play multiple sports and develop into a stronger lacrosse player. When you are injured, you can take the time to heal. And most importantly, you can focus on your academics to see where your interests lie and determine where you should attend college.

I know that you and your parents have questions and concerns, but I believe these changes will benefit all of us and help the sport of lacrosse. The stress of being the best player at an early age will no longer be a priority and you will have time to develop both on and off the field. In terms of college, you will now have time to look at more schools and determine what is the best fit for you at a more appropriate age. Many of you are focused on playing at a Division I program when Division III offers an outstanding education and a balanced athletic experience which you can now consider.

Both of my daughters went through the recruiting process during their senior year. It was awesome - they had time to visit the schools, meet the girls on the team who they would play with, and create a relationship with the coach who they would actually play for. They understood the style of lacrosse at each school and what the expectations of the coaches were in terms of their commitment to a program. When they went on college visits during their senior year, they even had an answer for what they wanted to major in and do after college.

Over the last few years, the recruiting process has accelerated to a point that is detrimental to you, the student-athlete. Friendships ruined when social media highlighted who was “committed” and who was not. Parents panicked when they learned that a girl from a team committed and their daughter had not. For many girls, the recruiting process has become unnecessarily stressful. September 1 of the junior year will help to put everyone on a level playing field and alleviate some of this stress.

I love the game of lacrosse and want nothing more than for all of us to be successful in life. As we navigate the new recruiting legislation, I hope that together we can expand your opportunities as a student-athlete and help you to make the best decision for your future.