Yesterday, the NCAA backtracked.
Several proposed changes to the governing body’s recruiting rules announced in January are now back on the table and up for discussion at the NCAA board of directors’ meeting in May.
Many coaches, athletic directors, and even entire conferences have expressed concerns over the proposed deregulation and the NCAA presidents who initially OK’d those measures have listened. Three rules in particular will get a second look:
* Proposal No. RWG-11-2: Would eliminate the definition of recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only by a head or assistant coach.
* Proposal No. RWG-13-3: Would eliminate restrictions governing modes and numerical limitations on recruiting communication.
* Proposal N. RWG-13-5-A: Would eliminate restrictions on printed material sent to prospective students.
According to the NCAA’s own press release on the matter:
“Some in the membership 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 are concerned that deregulation in this area will lead to a recruiting arms race that will overwhelm prospects, college coaches and athletics department budgets.
With the hope of providing feedback and recommended actions to the Board of Directors in advance of their May meeting, the Rules Working Group will discuss the concerns identified by those in the membership.”
Tennessee football coach Butch Jones might have summed up the situation better than anyone when he said last month: “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.”
Of the proposals mentioned above, there are fears that allowing anyone to recruit via phone/text/email (proposal RWG-11-2) will lead schools to hire new staff members or — amazingly — farm out such duties to call centers. Several schools have already hired new personnel to aid in recruiting.
There are fears that coaches and recruits will be communicating around the clock and across the calendar if all limits are removed (proposal RWG-13-3).
There are also concerns that schools’ budgets will balloon as they print more recruiting materials and ship them out to numerous prospects (proposal RWG-13-5-A).
In May, the board of directors will have to decide whether to table those proposals for good or just until a more in-depth review is conducted.