It is now Aug. 1, which means that an NCAA 'dead period' is in effect for all Football Bowl Subdivision schools. There was a previous dead period that lasted from June 25 to July 24, which was lifted for a week, before going into effect again.

While many fans of college football and college football recruiting know the term 'dead period,' there is still plenty of confusion as to what it actually means. Every year, when it comes around, fans of schools get worked up because they think other schools are breaking NCAA rules by contacting prospects.

So, what is the dead period?

The name is a bit of a misnomer. Contrary to what many believe, it does not mean that there is no contact allowed between coaches and prospects. It simply means that there are no campus visits - official or unofficial - allowed by players. It also means that college coaches cannot make off-campus visits to practices or the like. Neither official visits, where a school can host a prospect for up to 48 hours and pay for his and his family's expenses, as well as unofficial visits, where a prospect pays his own way to campus to simply visit with the coaches, are allowed. Basically, there can be no in-person contact betwen players and coaches. Even if a recruit happens to show up at a school, he cannot meet with any of the staff.

What is still allowed during a dead period is the same amount of phone calls, texts and social media messages that were allowed prior to it. Coaches may still initiate contact via those mediums, up to the allowed limit, and players are free to initiate as much contact as they like. So, if a recruit says he talked to a coach from your rival school during this dead period, it does not mean that any rules were broken.

The NCAA dead period technically lasts all of August, from the 1 to the 31. However, with some teams having games either late in the month or early in September, there is an exception to the rule.

Both official and unofficial visits are allowed up to 48 hours before and up to 48 hours after a team's first game in what is called a 'quiet period.' During a quiet period, recruits may make visits to campuses, but college coaches are not allowed off campus to recruit.

This year, for example, Texas A&M opens the season on a Thursday night, Aug. 30. Though that is technically still in the dead period, the Aggies could host official visitors anywhere from Monday evening to Saturday evening. Most other schools kick off on Sep. 1, though, and many will host visitors that opening weekend that will arrive on Fri., Aug. 31.

Once September roles around, the NCAA begins what is called an 'evaluation period.' That means that coaches are allowed off campus to scout recruits. Because the coaches are usually busy with their own practices during the week, this usually means they will be at Friday night games around the country.