Day after day, week after week, more coaches, more athletic directors, and more conferences are speaking out against the NCAA’s decision to deregulate recruiting. After years of complaining about the NCAA’s rulebook being too thick, the complaint now is that college sports’ governing body is ripping out way too many pages.
Somewhere NCAA prez Mark Emmert sits in a dark room mumbling to himself, “I can’t win.”
This summer, dead periods will become a thing of the past. Coaches can contact prospects whenever and however they like. They can mail anything they like, too. Take it from South Carolina recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr.:
“I think there’s going to be some more stuff this summer that the SEC is deciding on (about the rule changes). But you can mail out anything. I’ll start mailing out Fatheads (wall stickers) of our best players. I’m going to mail them to everybody. It’s perfectly legal. You can mail out whatever you want. Because we’ve got to think about what Alabama’s doing, and they will absolutely press the envelope, regardless of calls. You can send out whatever you want. Last year, you couldn’t mail out media guides. You can send out anything now.”
Ah, yes. Alabama.
In addition to the anything-goes policies now on the way, colleges will also be allowed to hire as many people to help with on-campus recruiting as they like. Alabama has already employed former Baylor head coach Kevin Steele as its director of player personnel, a czar of sorts to oversee the 28-man Bama bunch that can text, call, and mail recruits as often as it likes.
Other schools with cash aplenty will surely follow Alabama’s lead. So those schools trying to build programs or climb past football’s reigning juggernauts, well, good luck. The bullies on the block will be able to call in reinforcements. Good ones. Lots of them.
But that’s if the NCAA’s planned rulebook burning begins on July 1st as scheduled. The chorus of figures against the plan is growing by the hour.
Two weeks ago, the Big Ten put out a statement as a conference asking Emmert and his gang to slow down on a number of its proposals:
“We have serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches. We are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources.”
Georgia AD Greg McGarity has voiced his concerns:
“Some school is going to want to get on the high dive with this and go all in and spend and spend. It is going to start a round of competition among schools that is going to be limitless…
The main issue this creates in college athletics is the haves and have-nots will be further separated and that’s not good in the big picture. As you see now, some institutions will dedicate more resources, more personnel – all within the rules – to certain areas of an athletic department… I think the unknown is what’s scary.”
McGarity has said that his coaches have already come up with a list of new mailouts including: 200-page, four-color brochures, Fathead posters of the recruits, videos of recruits wearing Georgia uniforms.
Yesterday, new Tennessee coach Butch Jones weighed in:
“As coaches, as peers, we’re trying to get (the rules) stopped. I can’t believe we didn’t have a say… We have a speed limit for a reason. Law enforcement agencies don’t say, ‘Well, we can’t enforce the speed limit, so we’re going to do away with it.”
Basketball coaches believe the NCAA has gone too far as well. Georgia’s Mark Fox had this to say:
“Everyone was in favor of some deregulation because, with a 500-page rulebook, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries. We’re all in favor of giving them a bagel and we’re all in favor of peanut butter, so let’s get rid of that rule. I think the goal was to get rid of the rules that didn’t make any sense, but evidently we’ve changed a lot more than that.”
So will these controversial proposal approved and voted into place by university presidents actually become the law of the land? With so much backlash against them, we’ll guess no. The SEC’s athletic directors are expected to soon vote unanimously to table many of the proposed changes. The Big Ten has already gone in that direction. With the two most powerful conferences lined up against these changes — and with more complaints rolling in from elsewhere each day — Emmert’s group of presidents will have to listen to their own sports administrators.
And their sports administrators seem to believe that while the presidents’ hearts were in the right place, they somehow managed to trip over their own feet.