It’s about that time again.
The calendar has flipped to February, which means you can count on three things. My neighborhood Gold’s Gym is almost free of the New Year’s Resolutionists. Hallmark’s stock is rising. And Mack Brown has just inked another banner recruiting class full of blue chippers for the University of Texas.
But Mr. February, as Brown is so appropriately termed, doesn’t have time to celebrate. Just ten short days after National Signing Day for the 2010 class, Texas will host its first Junior Day, which will kick off the 2011 recruiting season for the Longhorns. And if this primary event is anything like season’s past, Brown will race out in front of the pack and secure verbal commitments from about half of his wish list.
Orangebloods can be heard on message boards everywhere. “My coach can out-recruit your coach with one hand tied behind his back!”
In 2011, the Burnt Orange faithful are going to witness just how true this could be.
Will Muschamp, UT’s defensive coordinator and one arm of its recruiting body, is going to be severely handcuffed by the new constraints handed down by the NCAA earlier this year. The new legislation states that coaches holding the title Head-Coach-in-Waiting will adhere to the same rules of recruiting as the current head coach. The head coach is limited to one off-campus visit with a high school athlete and the visit can’t come between the dates of April 15-May 31, which means that Muschamp will be forced to take an extended spring break.
At the blistering pace of which coordinators are being named successors to their bosses (Maryland is the lone school of the remaining 119 outside of UT in which a coordinator holds this designation), it’s no wonder why the oh-so-relevant Big East decided to step up and thwart this rush of madness with its proposal to the NCAA.
It would be hard for Texas and Maryland not to feel singled out here. With the scarcity of the head-coach-in-waiting, it begs the questions of why this rule needs to be established.
Well, the Big East wants to know why their once dominant recruiting efforts should be challenged by a couple of forward-thinking, stability-seeking, renegade also-rans?
Never mind the fact that even though Muschamp brandishes this apparent title of certainty, he has been linked to nearly every head coaching vacancy during the past couple of seasons. Forget about Muschamp having to assure his recruits, his players, the UT staff and Orangebloods everywhere that he loves Austin and his position, and that he isn’t selling his house. It’s clear that Texas does not experience any pratfalls in their current situation, and UT’s recent recruiting success must be attributed to Muschamp’s role. You’ll also have to ignore that Brown pulls in perennial top five recruiting classes, long before Muschamp showed up in Austin.
But now that the Big Least has warbled to the NCAA about the improprieties of Texas and essentially cut off one of Texas’s recruiting arms, order can be restored to the recruiting front. The other 118 schools will send all coordinators and coaches off-campus as often as they can afford. But the progressive efforts of Texas and Maryland will now put them squarely behind the eight-ball, even though both schools had agreements with their coaches well over a year before this new rule was adopted.
"We are exploring our options for legislative relief within the NCAA process, since we believe this places our program at a direct disadvantage,” said UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds in a statement on Wednesday. “Will is our head coach-in-waiting but he is also our defensive coordinator, and this legislation restricts his ability to perform his current job duties,"
While the University of Texas waits to hear back from the NCAA, Mack Brown and the rest of his staff are going to have to work harder than ever if they are hoping to match their success of previous seasons. A good haul in their first Junior Day this weekend will go a long way in securing that success.