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Subcommittee proposes new football recruiting rules

Summer access model patterned after basketball

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
NCAA.org

Division I football coaches could have both new recruiting rules and increased access to their student-athletes in the summer if a group of rules changes is adopted by the Board of Directors later this month.

A subcommittee of the Leadership Council formed to examine recruiting in the sport will present to the full Leadership Council five legislative proposals. The proposals are the first step toward fulfilling their charge to lead a proactive and comprehensive review of recruiting issues identified by football coaches.

The group will propose:

  • Allowing football student-athletes to participate in eight hours per week of required weight training, conditioning and film review during an eight-week period during the summer. Student-athletes who participate in the summer activities must be enrolled in summer school or meet specific academic benchmarks. The proposed model is similar to those adopted by men’s and women’s basketball in the last two years.
  • Prohibiting a school’s staff members from attending an all-star contest or activities associated with an all-star contest and from having in-person contact with recruits participating in all-star contests from the time the recruit arrives at the event until he returns to his home or school.
  • Establishing a dead period when no in-person recruiting can take place from the Monday of the week in which mid-year junior college transfers can begin signing the National Letter of Intent through the Wednesday of the week of the annual American Football Coaches Association convention. The dead period currently begins the Friday after the junior college signing period and ends the Sunday of the week of the AFCA convention.
  • Establishing a 14-day dead period in late June/early July for Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
  • Allowing schools to pay for meals for up to four family members who accompany a recruit on an official visit. Current rules allow schools to pay for the recruit and his parents, legal guardians, spouse or children but exclude siblings and other family members. This approach provides schools more flexibility to address each prospective student-athlete's specific family situation.

The subcommittee members believe the changes will promote a healthy recruiting environment for both the students being recruited and the football coaches and will protect the integrity of the recruiting process.

For example, by barring recruiting associated with high school all-star games, the subcommittee hopes to minimize the influence of third parties in the recruiting process, such as agents, advisors and runners, as well as keep the focus on scholastic competitions for recruiting. Also, extending the winter dead period and adding a summer dead period will allow coaches and recruits a break from the recruiting process while still ensuring appropriate time for everyone to make informed recruiting decisions.

The Leadership Council will review the proposals at its Oct. 23-24 meeting in Indianapolis. The measures they endorse will be sent to the Board of Directors for adoption at its Oct. 30 meeting. As proposed, the new rules would be effective immediately.