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NCAA passes controversial rule changes, minus early recruiting start date

The NCAA passed 25-of-26 radical rule change proposals Saturday which could change the very dynamic of high school football recruiting.

NCAA president Mark Emmert and the NCAA are making major changes.
NCAA president Mark Emmert and the NCAA are making major changes.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

We previously outlined a number of proposed NCAA rule changes and their potential impacts set to be voted on by the NCAA's board of directors. After a meeting this morning (at the conclusion of the NCAA's annual conference), the association passed 25 of 26 proposals, in the process easing recruiting restrictions. The lone proposal not passed, the July 1st before a prospect's junior year earlier recruiting start date, was tabled for further discussion in April.

Amongst the ramifications of today's changes:

  • Coaches are allowed unlimited phone calls and text messages to eligible to be contacted recruits (presently seniors, but the tabled proposal would move that up to juniors).
  • Unlimited contact via social media.
  • Strikes down the so-called baton rule limiting the number of coaches that can be out recruiting at once to 7. A team's entire staff can now be out recruiting concurrently effective August 1st, 2013.
  • Will permit individuals to receive actual and necessary competition-related expenses from outside sponsors, so long as the person is not an agent, booster or representative of a professional sports organization. Circumstances similar sidelined Indiana freshmen basketball players Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea this season.
  • Allows student athletes to be considered student athletes once a National Letter of Intent is signed so they're eligible for student athletes benefits right away as opposed to the moment they first arrive on campus and begin classes.
  • Eliminates a limit on the amount of printed material that can be sent to recruits.
To try and curtail the looming overwhelming volume of contact, the NCAA had suggestions about how recruits' parents can "take control" of the potential tidal wave of contact:
  1. A recruit and/or his or her parents should inform a program as to the days of week and times during the day when the recruit is available to accept calls, emails or text messages from the program. If messages or calls are received outside of these times, the recruit or the parent should reiterate the schedule to the program and ask that they comply.
  2. Parents of recruits should set times when the recruit can use his or her telephone or access the internet to read and respond to messages. Parents should limit this time, so that a recruit is not spending an excessive amount of time reading and responding to messages. The recruit's focus should continue to be school and athletic practice and competition.
  3. If a program's communication is found to be excessive or unwelcomed, the program should be made aware of this immediately so it can curb further communication.

How this all shakes out remains to be seen, but it's easily the most radical changes the NCAA's made for football in recent memory. We'll have more as the ramifications continue to become more evident.