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Major Recruiting Rule Changes

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NCAA approves proposal overhauling college football recruiting

11:26 AM CT
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    Jeremy CrabtreeRecruitingNation

After almost five years of debate and numerous proposals that were adjusted or scrapped entirely, college football recruiting has been reformed.

The NCAA Division I Council on Friday passed Proposal No. 2016-116, a comprehensive package of rule changes developed in response to an order from the NCAA Division I board of directors -- the university presidents and chancellors who grew weary of the inefficiencies that have long plagued recruiting.

The legislation revamps early official visits, places limits on hiring individuals associated with recruits and affects three other key areas of the football recruiting process. It also allows for a 10th full-time assistant coach, which will become effective on Jan. 9.

Jim Phillips, Northwestern athletic director and chairman of the Division I Council, said the changes represent significant progress for recruits, student-athletes and coaches.

"This affirms that the new Division I governance structure can effectively and timely address important issues," Phillips said in a statement.

With the proposal's passage, prospects will be allowed to take official visits, paid for by the school, from April 1 of their junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. Before the change, official visits were not allowed before Sept. 1 of a prospect's senior year. The change in the recruiting calendar becomes effective Aug. 1 and will first affect the 2019 recruiting class.

The early visits are designed to work in tandem with an early signing period, which was not part of the agenda this week in Indianapolis. Conference commissioners, who administer the national letter of intent, are expected to vote on a proposed mid-December early signing period at their meetings in June.

Also part of the new legislation are strict rules that mirror what is used in college basketball for individuals associated with prospects, or IAWP. The IAWP rules are designed to prevent schools from hiring anyone associated with a prospect for noncoaching positions.

For example, the high school coach of a prospect is not allowed to take a paid or volunteer job as an analyst or strength coach at the college recruiting that coach's prospect. An IAWP is permitted to take a job at the same college only as a full-time, on-field coach.

Penalties for violating the IAWP rules range from permanent ineligibility of the players involved to the suspension of a head coach or assistant. The IAWP rules are effective immediately and retroactive to include contracts signed on or after Jan. 18, 2017.

Another important piece of the proposal reduces when coaches can conduct camps from two 15-day periods in June or July to 10 days in June. It also requires camps to take place on campus or at facilities used primarily for practice or competition by member schools.

This rule is effective immediately and essentially ends the lengthy, nationwide satellite camp tours like Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's Summer Swarm Tour that became a hotly debated topic in college football the past two summers. However, the new legislation does allow for recruiting conversations to take place at camps and clinics, a change to prior rules.

 

Also bundled in the proposal is the limitation of annual scholarships to 25. This is a move to do away with oversigning and to reduce the practice of grayshirting, a tactic by which schools delay the enrollment of a prospect until the following January so his signing would technically count as part of the next class.

The legislation limits to 25 the number of prospects whose aid is initially offered in the fall term of an academic year. Before, rules limited to 25 the number of prospects allowed to sign from Dec. 1 through May 31. This portion of the changes will affect newcomers in the 2018 signing class.

The new rules also create an expanded summer dead period for the entire month of August and from Monday before the last Wednesday of June through July 24. This allows coaches to take a break from the recruiting trail, spend more time with their family and focus on the start of fall camp in August. This portion of the legislation doesn't become effective until Aug. 1 and will affect the class of 2019.

 

 

Edited by ellitor

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An early signing period could be coming to college football in December...

On Friday morning, the NCAA voted to approve the creation of an early signing period for high school prospects to sign their National Letter of Intent in December. This new signing period will coincide with the current 72-hour Junior College signing period. Prospects will still be able to sign a Letter of Intent in the current February signing period.
 

In January, the NCAA DI Football Oversight Committee gave the approval for the December signing period to go to a vote, though they did not approve a proposed June signing window. 

Although the NCAA has approved the December signing period, the Conference Commissioners Association, who manages the National Letter of Intent program, still needs to approve the measure. 

 
When asked for comment, Scout's National Director of Recruiting, Brandon Huffman noted that the new rules will have a big impact on both the players and coaches. 
 
Coaches: "For coaches that have early commitments from players, it gives them a much better chance of holding on to them, rather than seeing them poached in January and in the run-up to Signing Day.  Of course, the flip side to that is that coaches who are better closers and do a better job flipping players down the stretch, now have to hope those targets don't sign in December."
 
Players: "Certainty and stability.  No more January drops when a new position coach comes in or a new head coach comes in.  They can sign in December instead of being told in late January, when they're still a verbal, that they'll have to either greyshirt or look somewhere else." 

 

Additionally, the NCAA DI council has voted to add multiple new changes to College Football recruiting over the next year:

-Prospects will now be able to take official visits during their Junior year. The visit must occur between April and June, while the prospect is not visiting the school for a camp or clinic.
 
- Similar to Basketball, FBS programs can not hire people close to a prospect for two years, before and after the arrival of the prospect.
 
- FBS programs are now limited to 25 first-time scholarships to eliminate oversigning.
 
- FBS coaches will now have a 10 day window in June and July to participate in camps and clinics, provided the camps take place in facilities used by their team.
 
- FBS programs are allowed to add a 10th assistant coach, effective 1/9/18

 

 

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I thought the 25 limit signing class was already there.  Does that prevent taking more that are EE now? 

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1 hour ago, AUBwins said:

I thought the 25 limit signing class was already there.  Does that prevent taking more that are EE now? 

No. It now means players who sign but do not enroll will still count against a team's yearly 25 Initial Counter limit. Before they only counted on the yearly 25 NLI limit and only counted on the yearly Initial Counter limit if they also enrolled.

To me it's much ado about very little. Teams had already slowed their roll a lot on signing kids they did not think would enroll. AU for example has not signed a player who didn't enroll since 2013.

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They have reinstated the Nutt rule, after several years of tweaking away from it.

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So if a kid "early signs" and then the coach leaves in January, he is still stuck.....can't get an automatic release?   If so, seems the only big winner are the schools who can sign a kid before word gets around that his favorite coach is headed somewhere else?    

BUT....might be that some marginal commit like a 3* wanting to attend bama could  be protected by the change.    I'm thinking that bama or Ohio State will not accept the early signatures if they have some doubts about really wanting the kids or that someone better is out there who might sign late.   Thus,  one of these schools/ coaches will no longer be able to string the gullible kid along just to keep him away from the competition ( like now)  when the odds are that he will be dropped at the last minute or offered a gray shirt. 

Might be reading this wrong but generally I don't see much impact from this.

Saban and maybe one or two other coaches actually have the "problem" of too many top kids wanting to come to their schools so that they can't take them all....and they can create an auction perhaps...add one at the top and drop one at the bottom.....where eventually it becomes necessary to gray shirt one or two of them at the last moment.   

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1 hour ago, Mikey said:

They have reinstated the Nutt rule, after several years of tweaking away from it.

Well cemented it to be precise. Before now the  yearly NLI limit had never been tied to the yearly Initial Counter limit like most had already thought was due to the ambiguity the NCAA likes to go about things.

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8 hours ago, ellitor said:

Well cemented it to be precise. Before now the  yearly NLI limit had never been tied to the yearly Initial Counter limit like most had already thought was due to the ambiguity the NCAA likes to go about things.

The Nutt rule stopped schools from signing more than 25 players, then enrolling only 25. That was a common practice, used mainly for signing academic borderline guys then placing them at a JUCO or Prep School.

The Nutt Rule made signees the initial counters.... Period. Then the NCAA started getting squishy about that, through one NEW mechanism or the other. However, the initial Nutt rule made signees and initial counters exactly the same.

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