10 Craziest College Football Recruiting Rules
Recruiting is a crazy experience, and college coaches have to abide by a lot of different rules.
There are various restrictions regarding dead periods, quiet periods, evaluation periods, visits, contacts, calls, emails, camps and other things involved in college football recruiting.
While many rules in place make sense, several of them can make you scratch your head. It's time to look at some odd recruiting rules that either don't make much sense or are outdated.
National Letters of Intent Cannot Be Delivered in Person
College coaches can't give a recruit his national letter of intent in person, which is a little crazy.
Recruits strike up close bonds with coaches, many of whom become father figures during the process. To hand out the letters and make things official in person would give a recruiter the chance to see all his hard work pay off right before his eyes.
Plus, it would eliminate the problems that can arise from a bad fax machine.
Coaches "In Waiting" Are Subject to Head Coaching Recruiting Rules
Remember a few years back when the "head coach in waiting" craze was going on? Well, it turns out that when a school publicly declares an assistant coach will be its head coach in the future, that coach then has to abide by all recruiting rules that head coaches have to.
Being a head coach of a program has more responsibilities, but it also has some restrictions. Which brings up the next crazy recruiting rule...
Head Coaches Cannot Go Out and Evaluate Recruits During Spring Period
As an evaluator, this may be the craziest rule on this list. Every spring, an evaluation period is held where coaches can go see recruits work out to assess their skills, size, speed and overall talent.
The only thing is, head coaches can't do this. They're restricted to staying on campus and only "hearing" about how good a 4-star linebacker looks in spring workouts.
The head coach is the most important person in a program, without question. He should definitely be allowed to see for himself any prospective player who may end up joining his program.
No More Than 2 Coaches Can See a Recruit in Person
In the fall, head coaches can check out recruits at games. However, no more than two coaches can see a recruit.
Say a team has a senior quarterback who is graduating after the season and has a commitment from a 5-star passer who may have a chance to start as a true freshman.
That program should be allowed to have its quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and head coach present to watch and evaluate the recruit at a game. Live, in-person evaluation is crucial, and this rule affects a coaching staff's ability to collectively do that.
2 Coaches Making Evaluations on the Same Day Counts as 2 Evaluation Days
Saying that evaluating players is important is an understatement.
If a program signs a recruiting class full of busts whom it did not evaluate properly, it can set a program back a few seasons and cost coaches and support staff members their jobs. Evaluation days are awfully limited for staffs, so they must use them wisely.
That's why a defensive line coach who loves an underrated 3-star defensive tackle should not be penalized an extra evaluation day for wanting to bring his defensive coordinator with him to see the recruit in the spring.
The NCAA states:
An evaluation day is defined as one coach engaged in the evaluation of any prospective student-athlete on one day (12:01 a.m. to midnight). Two coaches making evaluations on the same day shall use two evaluation days.
Coaches Can't Show Recruits Around Town on Unofficial Visits
Say you're a receiver from Los Angeles who has never been to the South. Alabama offers you a scholarship, and you're interested in checking out Tuscaloosa during the spring or summer.
You set up an unofficial visit to get to Alabama, and things go well on campus. However, you want to make sure you get a feel for the environment around town before you leave.
Well, don't expect the coaches to be your tour guides. The people who are the reason why you spent your money to go on this trip can't show you too much off campus on an unofficial visit.
Chances are that you go back home with questions and reservations.
Schools Are Not Allowed to Pay for Unofficial Visits
While official visits are paid for by the schools, they cannot finance a recruit's unofficial visit. This is crazy because not all recruits are fortunate enough to afford the money needed to hit the road to visit schools on their own.
Perhaps there's a 4-star safety who has 20 offers and wants to check out 10 schools far away before he narrows his list. However, he doesn't have the money to get to Oregon from Virginia.
He knows he only has five official visits for the fall, but there are still 10 schools on his list that he has to choose from for those five visits. Oregon and all other schools should be able to finance visits for one to three recruits who are out-of-state prospects between March and July.
Non-Coaches Can't Evaluate or Recruit
A big difference between being an assistant coach in college versus the NFL is that NFL coaches are less involved than college coaches in the evaluation process.
Sure, NFL assistants watch tape on free agents and draft prospects, but that is mostly what scouts are for. College assistants are the scouts for their programs.
It's time for college programs to be allowed to hire a few personnel guys to take some evaluation and recruiting pressure off the assistant coaches.
Assistant college coaches already have enough pressure getting their film work and game-planning duties done, plus doing on-field coaching during practices every week.
No Early Signing Period
College basketball has an early signing period, but college football does not. This is crazy.
For starters, if a recruit commits to a school and knows in his heart that is where he wants to go (cough, 5-star safety Derwin James, cough), then he should be allowed to sign his national letter of intent with the school in the fall.
If a recruit commits to a program but still wants to take some trips through the winter, then he doesn't have to sign in the fall. No pressure.
Most recruiting classes are nearly complete by the fall anyway. Schools should be allowed to begin processing national letters of intent, going over academic protocols and getting recruits cleared with the NCAA Clearinghouse in the fall.
When the rest of the class is filled out in February, then start the next round, instead of having to do all of those things at once with a full class.
No Coaches Allowed at Off-Campus Recruiting Camps or All-Star Games
The final crazy rule on this list also stems around evaluating recruits. The Opening is the premier recruiting event in the cycle, but the only thing missing from it is college coaches being allowed to attend.
Coaches watch tape of 5-star recruits dominating their competition during the season, which is fine. However, they would be able to get a great evaluation and feel for a recruit at an event like The Opening because now the 5-star prospect is going up against significantly better talent.
If a non-Nike school doesn't want its coaching staff at The Opening, then an event like the Rivals 5-star Challenge could work.
Plus, college coaches should be able to watch Under Armour All-America Game and U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices in person during the week like NFL coaches and scouts watch Senior Bowl practices.
NCAA college football recruiting rules can be seen at NCAA.org.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.