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The NCAA Just Approved Major Rule Changes To Recruiting

Significant rules changes are sure to shake up recruiting as we know it.

The NCAA just passed proposed rule change No. 2016-116, and it is going to change recruiting as we know it. There are several changes, but one of the biggest changes is an effort to modernize the recruiting calendar, recruits will now be able to take official visits, paid for by the school, from April 1st of their junior year to the Sunday before the last Wednesday of June.

That’s not all either. There are several new rules restricting recruiting practices and the passed proposal allows schools to hire a 10th full-time assistant coach effective June 9th.

“Today’s adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches,” said Jim Phillips, the chairman of the Division I Council. “Importantly, the action of the NCAA Division I Council delivers on the charge of the Division I Board of Directors to comprehensively improve the football recruiting environment.

“This affirms that the new Division I governance structure can effectively and timely address important issues,”

Another major change is that schools will no longer be able to hire a family member or someone close to a prospect unless it is for a full-time, on-field coaching position – effectively putting an end to a practice that has been growing in popularity. For example, a lawsuit filed by former Alabama receiver Antonio Carter, accuses Lane Kiffin of deceptions in order to secure a recruit. He claims that Kiffin did not follow through with a promise to hire him as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Make no mistake, Kiffin isn’t the only coach that was doing this, though.

Should a school violate the rule change, the punishment is severe. Penalties include a loss of eligibility for the player and a possible suspension of the head coach and assistants.

Additionally, rules have been placed around satellite camps.

Coach Jim Harbaugh had the SEC crying foul when he scheduled several satellite camps in their own back yard. The NCAA announced new restrictions effectively banning the use of satellite camps a year ago, but that was seen as a massive over-correction, and the ban was quickly rescinded.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the NCAA’s latest attempt to restrict the use of satellite camps is met with the same backlash as before. Instead of two 15-day periods in June and July, camps can now only be held during a 10-day window in June. And much like last year’s ban, camps can now only be held at facilities the school owns or regularly uses for practice and competition.

That’s a significant blow to the smaller schools in areas less populated who use satellite camps as a way to give kids an opportunity to get in front of them that might not be able to afford long-distance travel.

Our satellite camps, for the most part, were in the state of Kansas trying to get out to western Kansas, because western Kansas youngsters sometimes just can’t get here,” Coach Bill Snyder said a year ago. “We did them in Kansas City, we did them in Wichita. We were in-state. I would prefer the rule still allow you to do that.”

Coach Matt Campbell was even more emphatic.

“I’m furious,” Campbell told the Ames Tribune last year. “The reality is to take college Division I schools that are willing to pay their own money to go down, spend the money, provide a camp, provide an opportunity and give these young men an opportunity to get evaluated, I just don’t know if I see it being the right way and I hope the NCAA sits here and looks at it and says, ‘Man, was this really the right thing for young kids?’”

The restrictions don’t end there, either. The NCAA is also addressing over-signing. Before, schools could delay the enrollment of a player to January in order to keep his scholarship from counting against the current year. Now, schools are limited to 25 scholarships whose aid is initially offered in the fall.

The NCAA also expanded recruiting dead periods in an effort to give coaches more time with their families. Dead periods now stretch from the last Wednesday in June to July 24th, and the entire month of August.

And, as they would say on as seen on TV infomercials, that’s not all! The NCAA also voted to approve an early December signing period in addition to the traditional February signing date. That issue has to be approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association in June, but it is expected to pass.

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