NCAA to take second look at recruiting rules

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | 7:34 p.m. CDT

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA's plan to update the recruiting process has hit another snag.

Three more rules that were passed by the board of directors in January will get a second look from the board in May after at least 75 schools, the minimum needed, signed a petition to override the legislation before Wednesday's deadline.

That means the legislation intended to eliminate rules about how coaches communicate with recruits and how often they can contact recruits outside the traditional non-contact periods has been put on hold.

The board has three options: Stick with the legislation it originally passed and submit it for an online vote for all Division I members, rescind the legislation or modify it and subject it to another 60-day override effort.

The changes caused consternation primarily among football coaches, a list that includes Mack Brown of Texas. The Big Ten issued a statement from athletic directors and coaches who didn't like the change.

"During the football season, coaches want to concentrate on coaching and interacting with current student-athletes. The proposal will force them to significantly increase the amount of time they spend calling and texting recruits during the season," one school wrote on the override legislation. "This rule will create additional distractions for high school student-athletes. Their phones will be inundated with calls and texts at all hours of the day from college coaches and staff."

The latest news comes two days after the board of directors announced it would suspend rules that deregulated which staff members could perform recruiting tasks and what printed materials could be sent to recruits.

Plus, the board announced it will reconsider a rule prohibiting coaches from scouting future opponents in person. The NCAA said recent technological advancements made in-person scouting unnecessary. Clearly, others disagreed.

"It is inconsistent with the NCAA deregulation theme and is biased against certain sports, particularly large field sports such as soccer, lacrosse and field hockey," one school wrote. "Finally, it would call for added administrative oversight."

In all, five of the 25 rules changes that were approved during the NCAA's annual convention could now be changed or abandoned when the board meets May 2 in Indianapolis.

The news comes one month after the NCAA released an external report that detailed how its own investigators improperly collected evidence while looking into allegations of wrongdoing at the University of Miami. The board later issued a vote of confidence for President Mark Emmert, who has made revamping the rules a priority.

Emmert called for major changes following a presidential retreat in Indianapolis in August 2011, and after the presidents initially approved tougher academic standards, the board then passed a rule giving schools and conferences the ability to award a stipend of up to $2,000 toward the full cost of attendance — money that goes beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees. That, too, was overridden and though Emmert has continued to express his support for the stipend, there has not been a formal proposal put on the table since the override petition received the necessary signatures.

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