NCAA Rule Changes


The American Football Coaches Association recently held its annual convention in San Antonio, and one of the more notable topics was a series of NCAA rule changes. Most of these rule changes govern recruiting and prospect evaluation.

First, NCAA bylaw 13.1.8.9.4 says institutional staff members shall not attend any scholastic or non-scholastic activities devoted to agility, flexibility, speed or strength tests for prospective student athletes conducted at any location at any time.

In other words, universities will no longer be able to test prospective student athletes at their summer camps. In the past these camps have allowed coaches to line up prospects and test them in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, shuttle, bench press and other agility drills. Testing of this sort allows for a direct comparison of prospective recruits and decreases a coach’s reliance on game tapes. This type of testing has been a bastion of these camps for several years and has also been a key component of the Nebraska coaching staff’s recruiting efforts. The early reaction to this change from coaches has not been positive and it will be interesting to see how they adjust.

Another key issue that is being examined is text messaging. Currently there are no rules governing the use of text messaging by coaches. However, you had to know the reevaluation of this rule was coming, as the NCAA prefers limits to be placed on all types of contacts. One of the interesting variables related to this rule, however, is that these text messages can actually wind up affecting a student athlete financially. If an athlete has a monthly service contract allowing only a limited number of texts, a flurry of messages from over-zealous coaches could result in overage charges. I suppose a change in this rule might also go along way toward preventing an outbreak of “Blackberry Thumb” among coaching staffs.

According to Rivals.com:

“The NCAA is looking at three different options, one of which was just shot down at the NCAA convention. The three options are NCAA Proposal No. 2006-40, Proposal No. 2006-41 and the status quo.

Proposal No. 2006-40 – which was proposed by The Ivy Group – would eliminate text messaging to prospects and specifies that electronically transmitted correspondence sent to a prospective student-athlete is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles.
Proposal No. 2006-41 was considered to be a middle-of-the-road solution, and it would have reduced communication via text messaging from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The times would be based upon the location where the prospect resides. However, the NCAA Management Council earlier this week defeated this proposal.

That leaves either the status quo – where there are no rules at all – or Proposal No. 2006-40 on the table for consideration. Kerin said the Management Council could be leaning toward elimination. So at this point, Proposal No. 2006-40 could eventually pass and then be in place on Aug. 1. If it doesn’t pass, nothing will happen and everything will remain as is.”


Another rule change that is already in place for the 2007 season is the override of Proposal No. 2005-54, which allowed student-athletes who received their undergraduate degree to transfer to another institution for graduate school and be immediately eligible for financial aid, practice and competition, no matter the student-athletes’ prior transfer history. According to NCAA research fewer than 1 percent of eligible student-athletes took advantage of this rule. One athlete who used this rule to great benefit was Florida DB Ryan Smith, who graduated early from Utah and then enrolled at Florida for graduate studies. Smith was named first-team all-SEC (AP) and third-team all-America (Rivals.com) after intercepting eight passes and recording 52 tackles, seven pass break-ups and two blocked kicks. Oh, and he also won a national title.

Next up appears to be a reexamination of the dreaded 3-2-5-e. A hot-button issue all season, the controversial clock rule was also a major topic at the AFCA convention. As the meetings completed the AFCA forwarded its clock-rule recommendations to the Football Rules Committee. Any changes will then be made by the by the Football Rules Committee, which convenes in February in Albuquerque, N.M. At least one important figure believes alterations to 3-2-5-e are in the offing. “My educated guess would be there would be a change,” said Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association.

Thank God for that.

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