Just weeks after the NCAA passed all but one regulatory changes which will take away the limits on the number of coaches that can be on the road at once, how much printed material can be mailed to prospective student athletes, and how much students can be contacted, the Big Ten's coaching power brokers have decided these ideologically don't mesh with their collective line of thinking.
Specifically, the league's coaches are concerned by proposals 11-2, 13-3, and 13-5-A, which relate to the areas mentioned above. They profess that their worries are that these regulations go against "the best interests of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches."
When the changes first came to light, a Kansas assistant coach dropped the now infamous line that they'd be forced to keep up with the joneses including but not limited to mailing promotional Fatheads to recruits since surely their opposition would be as well (of course these are still an NCAA violation as there are restrictions on what kind of printed materials can be sent to prospective student athletes). Urban Meyer parroted a similar line saying he had reservations about the so-called Fathead addendum, 13-5-A, on National Signing Day 2013.
We'd mentioned previously that we felt that the regulations could be disproportionately slanted towards the have's of college football, as major football factories like Ohio State would be able to hire more, better support staff to turn Mark Pantonio's director of player personnel role into an almost de facto college football general manager role. The venerable John Infante of Bylaw Blog disagreed, however, and stated that the ability to offer prospects earlier and other almost "Moneyball" type strategies would allow the have not's to keep up the pace.
Infante also later implied through his Twitter that the notion that NCAA rushed this or hadn't fully considered the ramifications was misguided. If NCAA college basketball is any indication (similar rules have been in place for well over a year now), the NCAA regulatory expert is spot on; it hasn't proven to have a disproportionately adverse effect on the student athletes nor the institutions.
Of course there's an argument to be made that perhaps football wouldn't scale, but when it comes to respecting a student athletes wishes, if you bombard them around the clock with contacts, literature, or go against the wishes of their parents, you're more likely than anything to diminishing marginal returns which could prevent your institution from being able to land that specific student athlete.
While it remains to be seen if the Big Ten coaches' statement will accomplish anything more than creating a national dialogue about the changes (or force the NCAA to more thoroughly explain them), it should be interesting to see as we approach to the August implementation date for the new rules an regulations.
The league's coaches' statement can be read in whole below:
Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten Football Coaches and Athletic Directors met today in Park Ridge for a regularly scheduled meeting and subsequently issued the following statement with regard to pending NCAA DI legislation impacting college football:
We reviewed the 26 Rules Working Group proposals acted upon by the NCAA Board of Directors in January, some of which will become effective as early as July 1, 2013. While we applaud the work that has been done to date, we are very concerned that the timeline proposed for implementation of the proposals does not allow sufficient time for the Football Recruiting Subcommittee of the NCAA Leadership Council to thoughtfully consider the impact of the proposals.
We are specifically concerned with the following three proposals and ask that they be tabled along with Proposal 13-2:
Proposal 11-2: Athletics Personnel - Limitations on the Number and Duties of Coaches - Elimination of Recruiting Coordination Functions
Proposal 13-3: Recruiting - Deregulation of Modes and Numerical Limitations on Communication
Proposal 13-5-A: Recruiting - Elimination of Printed Recruiting Materials and Video/Audio Legislation
We have serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches. We are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources.
We look forward to working with the NCAA toward improving the game, the recruiting process and the overall college football experience for all student-athletes.