College football recruiting as we know it could be in for a drastic change if the NCAA passes new legislation that's on the table.
Unfortunately, not all change is good change, and in the case of this new proposed legislation, it doesn't appear to be all that beneficial to recruits, coaches or the recruiting process in general.
Bryan Matthews of 247Sports does a great job of breaking down two of the main proposed changes:
Under the existing rules, coaches can’t call prospects or visit them off-campus until July 1 before their senior season. Proposal 13-2 pushes the start of the contact period back a year and will allow coaches to have six in-home visits with prospects as a junior and six more as a senior.
Proposal 13-3 will allow unlimited and unregulated phone calls, texts and electronic communication to prospects. Current rules outlaw text messages and only allow one phone call from the coach to the prospect per week.
While on the surface this seems like a great change overall, it really would be a negative move by the NCAA.
As with any big decisions in life, it's good to look at the pros and cons.
First, let's take a look at the proposed start date change.
The NCAA is looking to move the universal start date for recruiting up a year, from July 1 of a recruit's senior year to July 1 of his junior year.
This gives more time for recruits to evaluate colleges and develop recruiting relationships with coaches. It puts less pressure on that one senior year to make all major decisions in regards to recruiting.
This will mean more work for both recruits and coaches. For one, instead of focusing on just one class of recruits, coaches will have to focus on both seniors and juniors. Instead of being able to give their full attention to a handful of senior recruits, they now have to divide their attention up between junior and senior players.
From a recruit's perspective, all this does is add on another year of immense pressure. The recruiting process naturally interferes with a normal high school student schedule, so this is just adding one more complete year of that interference.
Not only could this impact school work and social life, but it's a distraction that could hinder a recruit's development as a football player.
The next major rule change would be to reverse the text-message ban and allow unlimited private communication with recruits starting July 1 of their junior year.
This allows a recruit to establish a much stronger recruiting relationship with a coaching staff, which could help said recruit make a decision.
Recruits can be bombarded with communication without cease, as recruiters and coaches will have no limit on the amount of time they can contact a recruit. This is something that will undoubtedly interfere with a recruit's life in general, as just a junior mind you. Education, social life and the overall normalcy of being a high school junior will be taken away.
This also puts a huge strain on coaches, specifically assistants. Again, Matthews of 247Sports does a great job of explaining this scenario:
And what about those assistant coaches. You know the highly competitive ones that are going to be tasked with beating out all these other schools for the top prospects.
If you’re at Auburn and an Alabama coach is calling or texting a kid 10 times a week, you’ll start contacting him 12 times. Wait, now a Florida State coach is contacting him 14 times? On and on it will go.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher also does a great job of explaining the potential issues this would create for coaches, per a report from Mitch Sherman of ESPN RecruitingNation:
It sounds good. But here's the difference between football and basketball: In football, you're recruiting 25; in basketball, you're recruiting three or four. I'm going to tell you what, for an assistant coach's life right now, it's fixing to change dramatically. You're not going to have a family life. You talk about burnout? I mean, I'm for communication and opening it up, but how are your coaches going to have a life? Because if you're not spending the time, somebody else is. Your staff, they may need to grow. I don't know if you have enough people on your staff to do that. That's a very scary avenue to go down, in my opinion.
Limitations and boundaries are important because they set a norm and create fairness in any given situation. By taking away the boundaries on communication, the NCAA will essentially be turning the world of recruiting into the "Wild West," where anything goes.
This may be advantageous for extremely ambitious recruiters and coaches, but is it really fair or uniform? Absolutely not.
There are already enough complaints and gripes about the tilted field in college football recruiting, and this would just increase that advantage for the better programs with more resources.
Overall, there are 26 proposals the NCAA will have a vote on (Matthews/247Sports), but these two in particular will have an extremely negative impact on college football recruiting if approved.
Change is important, and it's good to see the NCAA thinking progressively and openly about football recruiting, but not all change is for the better.