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Another Day, Another NCAA Release On Proposed Rule Tweaks… And Another Reason No One Will Break Away From The NCAA

bureaucracyEarlier today we told you that the NCAA board of directors would discuss in May three of the proposals unveiled in January to deregulate recruiting.  Today… May… January.  But wait, in typical NCAA fashion, the story has gotten more confusing.

As of today, the NCAA has updated yesterday’s announcement with a brand new one.  The latest press release states that the rules working group has now recommended to the Division I board that two of its January proposals be modified.

The rules working group recommendations:


* Proposal No. RWG-11-2 (which eliminated the definition of recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only be a head or assistant coach) be suspended until appropriate modifications can be made.  “The concept will be considered as the membership ponders its approach to non-coaching personnel.”

* Proposal No. RWG-13-5-A (which eliminated restrictions on printed materials sent to prospects other than general correspondence) be suspended to allow for a broader discussion of the rule.


You might notice that good ol’ Proposal No. RWG 13-3 — mentioned by us earlier today — no longer appears as a possible NCAA discussion point.  The reason?


“Because the working group agreed to suspend Prop. No. RWG-11-2, members felt that action addressed many of the concerns with Prop. No. RWG-13-3, which eliminated restrictions governing modes and numerical limits on recruiting communication.

Suspending RWG-11-2 will eliminate the fears about having an unlimited number of staff members contacting prospects an unlimited number of times. When it initially proposed the rule change, the Rules Working Group believed the rule change acknowledged both the increased use of text-messaging by prospects over the last several years and the growing difficulty of distinguishing between text messages, email and messages sent through social media. The rule also is expected to relieve a significant monitoring burden from the shoulders of compliance administrators.

The working group members continue to believe that over-communication with recruits will ultimately be ineffective in the recruiting process and that the rule will encourage increasingly technology-savvy recruits to tell coaches the best way to communicate with them.

Working group members noted that football coaches are currently permitted to make an unlimited number of telephone calls to prospects during the fall contact period, which runs from late November until the Saturday prior to the National Letter of Intent signing day in February.  Given this, the practical impact of RWG-13-3 will be to permit unlimited calls for only a few additional months. 

The group members also noted that coaches are already permitted to send an unlimited number of emails or other direct messages on various social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook), so deregulation in this area provides consistency and simplifies the legislation.

Men’s basketball has operated without numerical or mode restrictions on recruiting contacts for nearly a year, and all feedback has been positive. Believing some of the concerns have been allayed, the working group agreed to recommend that the Board not take action to modify RWG-13-3 so that the benefits of the rule can be realized.”


Proposal No. RWG-13-3 will undergo a review after two years, according to the NCAA’s website.  At least that’s the plan today.

This situation involving a mere three proposed rule changes should show everyone just how silly the idea of schools breaking away from the NCAA is.

First, the NCAA is the schools.

There seems to be a belief among some that an entity named “the NCAA” once parachuted in and took over college athletics the way the communists dropped in and conquered Calumet, Colorado in the original “Red Dawn” movie.  (You know, the “good” one.)  But the NCAA was founded of the schools by the schools.  It would be easier to reform the current organization than it would be to start an entirely new one.

And clearly its not easy to reform even a few pages of the NCAA’s rule book.

Thus, our second point: If tweaking a few rules requires as many meetings, proposals, reversals, and doubletalk-filled press releases as we’ve seen since January, imagine trying to get every school and every conference on the same page long enough to create an entirely new rule book, an entirely new enforcement plan, and an entirely new org chart.

That’s not going to happen, folks, and even if it did any new plan of government the schools and conferences might agree upon would soon become just another bloated, hated, cursed bureaucratic mess.  For that matter, show us any group of 10 or more people and we’ll show you a bureaucracy.  Here’s guessing someone in your office right now is wondering why you haven’t filled out this month’s TPS reports.

We all may whine and complain about the NCAA’s way of doing business.  College presidents and conference commissioners might tire of it, too.  But as long as there’s one group that’s called upon to organize and legislate more than 1,200 schools and conferences, there’s going to be plenty of red tape.

As we’ve seen all too well since the NCAA first announced its plans to rip a few pages from the recruiting section of its rule book.




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