Changes to recruiting rules that deregulated which staff members may take part in recruiting efforts have been put on ice by the NCAA.
Two months ago the NCAA approved new rules that would allow colleges to increase their staff and allow for more recruiting to be done by those staff members not usually used for recruiting purposes. The changes were widely debated and criticized. The Associated Press reports that public outcry from a number of colleges over the impact on recruits and their families that would have been impacted by more free reign in recruiting efforts as a reason the NCAA's board of directors is temporarily holding back on those changes for further evaluation.
“We are listening to our member schools and hope that continued discussion of these issues will enable us to reach a decision that helps our student-athletes and their institutions. We look forward to reviewing the result of further collaboration between coaches, administrators and student-athletes and members of the Rules Working Group,” NCAA board chair Nathan Hatch, president at Wake Forest, said. “The other presidents on the Board and I had a strong desire to be responsive to the concerns expressed by our colleagues.”
The suspended rules do not take effect until modifications are made, according to the report.
One point the board of directors is not prepared to budge on though is rules changes eliminating restrictions on how recruits are contacted and how many times coaches can contact recruits outside of official no-contact periods. According to the Associated Press, 48 schools are asking for those rules to be modified, or removed entirely. The deadline to petition for those rules to be reconsidered though is looming. A total of 75 member institutions of the NCAA must sign the petition by Wednesday at 5 p.m. eastern. There is no indication if there will be enough support to pass that petition on to have any impact.
“We are committed to the reform effort. We will move forward with these concepts with collaboration from all interested parties,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “Suspending these proposals for continued review will provide our coaches, administrators and student-athletes the additional opportunity to have their voices heard.”
The fact that just months after these rules were approved we are sitting here with a significant number of members protesting or asking for the rules to be modified demonstrates a couple of negative trends developing. The NCAA, perhaps without obtaining a proper amount of review and feedback, passed rules that opened up the lives of high school athletes to a point where privacy was nothing but a dream. Recruiting today is a dirty game already, and the NCAA emptied the vacuum cleaner right in the middle of the floor by allowing more people that would likely never have any typical interaction with those players access and free reign to fill their respective mailboxes, digital inboxes and phones with text messages all day long. If the NCAA was truly looking to protect the student athlete, these sorts of rules would never have been passed in the first place.
The NCAA is still learning to adjust to the modern age when it comes to regulating Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media and interaction. These tools are still valuable and becoming normal ways for people to connect. It is only natural that social networking enters the collegiate sports world of recruiting. Monitoring it full time remains a difficult task, and one that provides a number of ways to circumvent the rules and standard monitoring procedures.
Credit the NCAA for attempting to catch up with today's student athletes and their ways of communicating. But until the NCAA fully understands that high school students still need their space, and how they need a chance to breath, the NCAA will continue to prove that sometimes they just do not get it.