Offseason storylines change from year to year. Instead of realignment, third-party recruiters and free tattoos, it appears that recruiting deregulation is going to be front and center in 2013.
The NCAA voted in January to approve 25 deregulatory measures, including removing restrictions on telephone and text message contact and allowing support staff members to recruit.
To put it simply, the NCAA will now allow college football recruiting "front offices," with those employees—along with members of the on-field coaching staff—to have contact with prospects 24/7/365.
The put it even more simply, it has created the "Wild, Wild West" starting Aug. 1.
But many coaches and administrators aren't happy with the new rules, including Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity and the entire Big Ten conference. According to the USA Today, the NCAA has heard the complaints and is considering modifying the plan.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, a man whose voice echoes a bit louder than most in the college football world, has thoughts on how it should be modified.
According to AL.com, Saban doesn't have an issue with the methods used to communicate with prospects, but he would like some restrictions imposed on when contact is allowed to avoid "a constant barrage of competitive attention."
I mean, I don’t even know how young people can go to school if people were able to text them all the time, especially if he’s a junior. I feel like relationship building is important and I think we need to have enough communication so people can come and visit us, and when we go sit down with them for an evaluation or an actual recruiting visit that we can communicate properly, but I don’t think we need to do much beyond that.
Good for Saban.
As currently written, the new recruiting rules would separate the haves from the have-nots, and if any coach in America would benefit from the new rules, it's Saban.
Should there be some restrictions on when "unlimited contact" is allowed?
After all, that nine-figure football budget needs to be spent somewhere. Why not spend it on cell phones and unlimited data, especially if it's allowed?
But Saban sees the big picture, and that big picture shouldn't involve a constant barrage of communication that can—and will—get in the way of high school football players being, well, high school football players.
This comes on the heels of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen tossing out the idea of implementing a four-week dead period in the summer at a time chosen by each specific institution.
Four weeks may be two too many, but there has to be some sort of break built in. Otherwise, burn out won't just affect coaches, but also prospects.
Nobody wins in that scenario.