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NCAA Recruiting Changes In Question, But Bama Keeps Hiring

you-are-hired-textIn January, the NCAA announced that it would be ripping a few pages worth of recruiting restrictions from its rule book this summer.  An uproar ensued.  Last week, backtracking, the NCAA’s rules working group recommended to the Division I board — the group that will eventually decide the issue — that a pair of proposed changes be suspended pending further study and “appropriate modifications.”

One of the proposed changes that is likely to be suspended is called “Proposal No. RWG-11-2.”  That rule change would allow non-coaches to recruit prospects during on-campus visits and via text/email/phone/mail.

Almost immediately after the proposed change was first announced, two-time defending BCS champ Alabama began hiring new staff members.  Kevin Steele, a former head coach at Baylor, was brought in as what some saw as a recruiting czar to head up Nick Saban’s new recruiting unit.

As Alabama added staff, other coaches, schools, and conferences took notice.  Texas coach Mack Brown wondered just how many new aides Bama would hire.  Coaches at South Carolina said that they expected Saban and company to push the new rules as far as they could.  There was talk of mass mailings and of staffers hired to do nothing more than text recruits.  There was even speculation that some school out there might set-up a call center devoted to calling prospects day after day.

Despite the NCAA’s decision to reconsider RWG-11-2, Alabama continues to hire new staffers.  According to The Ole Miss Spirit — the Scout.com site covering the Rebels — Hugh Freeze’s coordinator of recruiting development is expected to move to Alabama.  Al.com reports that Tyler Siskey’s duties with the Tide are as yet unknown.

Siskey has been at Mississippi since 2012.  Before that he coached at Arkansas State as well as in the high school ranks.  He was current Bama quarterback AJ McCarron’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at St. Paul Episcopal School in Mobile.

Whether the NCAA votes to suspend or change its new rules on recruiting — specifically the proposed rule to uncap the number of people who can recruit for a school — is yet to be determined.  But Alabama is still moving full speed ahead in terms of hiring new people with recruiting backgrounds to new jobs within its football program.

Even if the new employees won’t be allowed to recruit, UA obviously has the cash to bring them in and continue to build one of the biggest football support staffs in the country.

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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.

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NCAA Says It Will Reconsider Some Proposed Controversial Rule Changes

backtrack-signYesterday, 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.

 

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