NCAA Board of Directors suspends 'text message rule'

NCAA Board of Directors suspends 'text message rule'

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he NCAA’s proposed recruiting deregulation has taken another hit.

Mark Emmert expressed surprise and frustration at coaches' negative reaction to proposed recruiting deregulation.

Mark Emmert expressed surprise and frustration at coaches’ negative reaction to proposed recruiting deregulation.

On Thursday, the NCAA’s Board of Directors suspended Proposal 13-3, the so-called “text messaging rule.” It would have removed limits on the modes of communication used to contact recruits and the number of phone calls that can be made.

Earlier this year, the “text messaging rule” received more than the required 75 override requests from NCAA members, and was sent back before the Board. In their report back to the Board following the override process, the Rules Working Group recommended the rule be suspended.

Three other deregulation proposals were suspended following the override process. Those rules would have eliminated restrictions on printed materials that can be sent to recruits, allowed contact with prospects 13 months earlier than it is currently permitted, and allowed off-field staff to participate in the recruiting process.

The recruiting deregulation proposals were originally introduced in January. Negative reaction from coaches and athletic directors was swift and strong.

In a Q&A session last week at the College Football Playoff meetings last week in Los Angeles, NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed frustration and surprise with coaches’ resistance to the proposals. He called it “crazy” and “insane” that compliance officials must continue monitoring text messages and phone calls.

“We had the Football Coaches Association represented on the committee,” Emmert said.

Not so, say AFCA officials.

AFCA president Grant Teaff told Stewart Mandel of SI.com that he learned of the pending rules changes just days before the Board was set to meet on Jan. 19 to approve them.

“The collateral damage to high school students and their academics would be significant,” Teaff said.

The suspension of 13-3 does not affect similar rules adopted for men’s and women’s basketball. Earlier contact with recruits is also allowed in basketball, but football coaches say that just because something works in basketball, doesn’t necessarily make it a fit in football.

“I keep hearing, ‘Well, basketball does it.’ Whoever would make that comment obviously has never coached basketball or football,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said earlier this month. “You’re talking about 13 players versus 85, signing classes of 25 to 30 people versus three.

“When we hear comments like that, you’re like, ‘Who would say that?'”

For now, the NCAA says the Rules Working Group and the Football Recruiting Subcommittee of the Leadership Council will examine each of the suspended proposals as part of deregulation’s “Phase II.” Other topics under consideration as part of Phase II include agents, transfer requirements, roster limits and additional recruiting items.

Time will tell if the NCAA makes any changes to the way proposed rule changes are introduced to coaches and administrators on the front end. Surely Emmert and his staff is hoping for a smoother reception next time around.

Photo credit: AP

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