Those are two words that rarely go together anymore.
Progress. NCAA. Recruiting.
That's a trifecta of words that we certainly don't see much of in this day and age, but there could be a glimmer of hope with this latest breaking news.
The NCAA is reportedly suspending two of the 25 recruiting deregulation rules that were adopted in January, according to Michelle Brutlag Hosick of NCAA.org:
The Division I Board of Directors Monday suspended two of the 25 pieces of legislation it adopted in January, responding to extensive membership feedback that despite the benefits of the proposals, the new rules could have a negative impact on prospects and their families, college coaches and administrators.
The Board postponed new rules deregulating who can perform recruiting tasks and what printed materials can be sent to prospects. Board members also considered suspending a third proposal that eliminated restrictions on modes and numerical limitations of recruiting contacts, but they ultimately agreed to let the membership decide that rule’s future through the override process.
The suspension of these two rules is in response to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to many of the deregulation rules—especially the three mentioned in this report. If you remember, the Big Ten specifically, was very much so against these new deregulation rules.
It appears as if the NCAA has decided to take another look at Prop. No. RWG-11-2 and Prop. No. RWG-13-5-A, and that's great news if you're a fan of college football recruiting.
The system isn't perfect, as we're all well aware, but recruiting needs guidelines and regulations in place. These proposed rule changes would have opened up a "Pandora's Box" of chaos that could taken the recruiting process and thrown it into the deep end—so breathe a sigh of relief as of now.
According to the report, suspending the rules means that they won't take effect "unless and until appropriate modifications are made."
Prop. No. RWG-11-2 was arguably the most concerning proposal, in that it basically gave recruiting abilities to more than just a head coach or his assistants. Here's the definition and the statement of suspension, per another report from Michelle Brutlag Hosick of NCAA.org:
Prop. 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.
Essentially what that meant is that a player could be recruited by someone affiliated with the university that is not a coach. In theory, athletic departments and savvy coaches would be able to hire people for the sole intent of recruiting. That could create quite a disadvantage for programs that don't have the budget to hire pure recruiters, and it really does stray away from the general allure of recruiting, does it not?
If I'm a recruit, I want to talk to a coach, specifically someone I'll be working with for the next four to five years of my life. According to this proposal, colleges could essentially send out "hired recruiting guns," and that's just a bad look.
Modifying or completely losing that change is in the best interest of recruiting in general.
The other prop that took at hit was No. RWG-13-5-A, which basically deregulated what printed recruiting materials colleges could send to recruits. Again, here's the definition and statement of suspension, per the NCAA.org report:
Prop. 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.
While this deregulation wouldn't have been as radical as the other, it would have definitely fostered a spirit of intense over-the-top competitiveness and "one-upmanship" on the recruiting trail. In fact, here's what Steve Spurrier had to say about the deregulation, per Darryl Slater of postandcourier.com
“I think there’s going to be some more stuff this summer that the SEC is deciding on (about the rule changes). But you can mail out anything. I’ll start mailing out Fatheads (wall stickers) of our best players. I’m going to mail them to everybody. It’s perfectly legal. You can mail out whatever you want. Because we’ve got to think about what Alabama’s doing, and they will absolutely press the envelope, regardless of calls. You can send out whatever you want. Last year, you couldn’t mail out media guides. You can send out anything now.”
As you can see, this could have quickly gotten out of control. The envelope would undoubtedly have been pushed, and that would put more strain on coaches, their staff, administration and most importantly, recruits and their families.
The recruiting process is already overwhelming as it is. The NCAA needs to take steps to alleviate that pressure and stress put on top recruits and their families.
Suspending these two rules was a step in the right direction.
It appears that Prop. No. RWG-13-3 is next on the chopping block, and that should be another breath of fresh air to those who actually care about the recruiting process. That prop deregulated the "modes" and and the amounts of times that a recruit can be communicated with. Basically, a coach could send hundreds of text, emails, calls and Tweets a day while recruiting a player and it would all be legal.
Here's how the override process works, per the NCAA.org report:
The override process for Prop. No. RWG-13-3 continues, with a deadline of 5 p.m. March 20. As of Monday afternoon, 48 schools had requested an override of that proposal, which deregulated communication with recruits.
If 75 schools request an override, the Board must review the proposal in question. If 125 schools request an override the proposals are suspended until the Board review. If the Board declines to change its position on the proposals, the full membership votes on them through an online process.
Hopefully, RWG 13-3 is the next to go. I shouldn't have to go into how over the top that would be from a recruit's standpoint, but it would also impact coaches as well.
"If Nick Saban is calling a kid 25 times a day, I'm going to need to call him 30 times a day." That would be the general thought process of a coach, and overall, it just wouldn't be healthy for anybody involved.
The good news is, the NCAA seems open to change and they seem more than open to modifying or even just getting rid of these proposals if schools don't see them as beneficial for either party in the recruiting process.
For what it's worth, suspending these two proposals was the right move, and hopefully we'll see 13-3 follow suit soon enough.
Believe it or not, the NCAA is making progress in regards to recruiting.
Bet you didn't expect to read that today.