NCAA.org defines many of the terms listed in the recruiting calendar:
Contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with a prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with the prospective student-athlete or his or her parents at the prospective student-athlete's high school or any location where the prospect is engaging in competition or practice.
Contact period is the time when a college coach may have in-person contact with a prospective student-athlete and the prospect's parents on or off the college's campus. The coach may also watch the prospective student-athlete play or visit his or her high school. The prospect and the parents may visit a college campus, and the coach may write and telephone during this period.
Dead period is a time when the college coach may not have any in-person contact with the prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents at any time. The coach may write and telephone during this time.
Evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate a prospective student-athlete's academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting the prospective student-athlete's high school or watching the prospect practice or compete.
Evaluation period is the time a college coach may watch a prospective student-athlete play or visit the high school but cannot have any in-person conversations with the possible recruit or the parents off the college's campus. The prospective student-athlete and the parents can visit a college campus during this period and a coach may call or write during this period.
Official visit is a prospective student-athlete's visit to a college campus paid for by the college. The college can pay for transportation to and from the college, room and meals (three per day) while visiting and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. NCAA recruiting bylaws limit the number of official visits a recruit may take to five.
Quiet period is a time when the college may not have any in-person talk with the prospective student-athlete or the parents off the college's campus. The coach may not watch the prospect play or practice.The prospective student-athlete can visit college campuses during this time and a coach may write or telephone.
Unofficial visit is any visit by a prospective student-athlete and their parents to a college campus paid for by the prospective student athlete or the prospect's parents. The only expense the prospective student-athlete can receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. The prospect may make as many visits as he or she likes and may take the visits at any time. The only time the prospective student-athlete cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.