Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
March 15, 2013
The newfangled arms race that many people feared would be the spinoff of the NCAA's recent effort to deregulate recruiting contact could be delayed, or even vanish altogether.
At the NCAA convention in January, the lengthy effort to streamline the NCAA's massive rulebook produced three highly controversial measures - allowing non-coaches (support staff members) greater opportunity for participation in the recruiting process, eliminating restrictions on printed materials sent to prospects and eliminating all barriers to private communication between coaches and prospects.
But the first two proposals are now back on the table for discussion. Wary of moving forward after dozens of Division I coaches and administrators, and even some league officers, harshly criticized the new deregulatory measures, the NCAA's Rules Working Group, which initially drew up the plans, recommended the Division I Board of Directors suspend and modify the legislation when it meets on May 2 in Indianapolis.
According to the NCAA, the Working Group did not recommend suspension of the new rule eliminating restrictions on contact with prospects because of the feeling that limiting communications to just coaches (thus, disallowing support staff from contacting recruits) would resolve the issue.
Interpreting the three measures together, the overpowering fear among coaches and administrators is that the new rules will tolerate unlimited and around-the-clock contact with prospects by an unlimited number of staff, including coaches, opening the door for the richest schools to engulf recruits with texts, e-mails, phone calls and Facebook messages, providing them with an even greater advantage in the recruiting process.
Some analysts speculated the new rules would produce player personnel departments similar to the NFL within the SEC, although multiple coaches, including recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr., and administrators at South Carolina insisted the school would be prudent in hiring new people for recruiting purposes.
"Just speculating, I don't think that will be the case," USC athletic director Ray Tanner recently said. "Certainly, deregulation is good in a lot of ways, but I don't think we're going to be in a position that there will be a lot of staff increases and those kinds of things. At least we're hopeful that will not be the case in college football in general.
"Some of the things will be in place and some will not be by Aug. 1. But I don't anticipate it being across the board as some have said. But there will be some deregulation."
Even if support staff are allowed to communicate with recruits, Tanner said it was "possible" the NCAA could limit the number of staff involved as a way to control costs.
In a press release dated March 7, the NCAA explained the reasons for the decision to delay or prohibit implementation of the new rules: "Some in the membership recently expressed concern about the possible adverse impact the changes would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources, in addition to the impact on prospects and their families.
"Some coaches and administrators expressed concern that deregulation in this area might lead to a recruiting arms race that will overwhelm prospects, college coaches and athletics department budgets. Much of the anxiety is specific to football, though the concerns could translate to any sport."
USC senior associate AD Judy Van Horn, who has an extensive background in compliance, said an override of aspects of the legislation approved in January was possible.
"Many of us at the institutional level are interested in seeing how things transpire and we'll take our cues from that," Van Horn said. "Efforts have already started for discussion on some of the legislation that is more controversial.
"We'll just have to see where that ends up. It will be interesting moving forward. It's possible some of the legislation that was approved will be reviewed in light of the comments being made to the NCAA."
Media outlets around the country have reported some larger schools have moved quickly to hire additional support staff in order to boost their recruiting efforts when the new rules went into effect on Aug. 1.
But the Working Group's recommendations to the Board of Directors could put the brakes on those plans.
"There are concerns about some aspects of the legislation, which is why you're seeing a lot of discussion generated," Van Horn said. "I think it is important to look at all sides of the issues and then we'll see where it goes from there."
South Carolina NEWS