May 13, 2013

Stoops against recruiting deregulation

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN, Okla. — Early this month, the NCAA put the brakes on some rule proposals that would have deregulated college football recruiting. No limits on correspondence — written or verbal — were among the rules the governing body was prepared to ditch, along with moving up the age of when a high school player becomes recruitable.

The changes were halted for one major reason: several BCS conferences and many coaches were against the changes. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was one of many to strongly voice concerns over the proposals.

“I’m glad they’re looking at it. It needs to be well thought out,” he said.

Until the NCAA halted the changes May 2, college football recruiting was heading into uncharted territory. Some schools had already started hiring personnel departments because the NCAA would no longer limit contact with recruits to just on-the-field coaches.

However, the biggest concern many coaches had was no longer prohibiting contact during certain periods. In a sense, the NCAA was ready to create a free-for-all where schools could go after recruits 365 days a year. There would no longer be limits on the amount of calls or text messages that could be sent to recruits. Also, the limits on the amount of mail a school could send and when they could start being recruited were set to be deregulated.

Stoops believes there are some rules that needs to be amended, but the NCAA’s plan were too much, too soon.

“Seemed like they were just ready to, in other words, let’s take it out of the NCAA and our compliance hands, and let’s have no regulation,” he said. “Well, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. I don’t think it’s been totally broke, so let’s not totally change it.”

What the NCAA wanted was to eliminate the contact rules that had been widely broken over the years. Numerous schools have been caught or turned themselves in for secondary violations involving too many calls or texts to recruits. OU’s turned itself in for them several times.

However, those non-contact periods also allow coaches to, well, coach, and have a little time off.

Stanford coach David Shaw was one of the most vocal against that change. Why not do a better job enforcing it instead?

“There are murmurs and rumors everywhere about who’s doing what. And it’s hard for the NCAA. I know it’s hard for them to catch everybody that breaks every single tiny rule,” Shaw said. “But if something’s wrong, let’s don’t make it right because it’s hard to catch them. Let’s catch them.”

Stoops agrees.

“Too much of the time, we want to put rules in to say, well, since guys are doing it illegally, say calling players when they’re not supposed to call them on a phone that can’t be traced, why then just open it up to everybody? I agree with David totally,” Stoops said. “I think they need to do a better job of communicating with players. If a player says he talked to so and so at whatever time of year, whether you can trace it or not, however he called him, he called me, I talked to him, well, that’s a violation. Have it severe enough to where they don’t want to do it. I don’t think we do a good enough job of that.”