High School Sports

NCAA Division I council proposes big recruiting changes for football

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh urges the more than 500 high school football players to listen to his explanation to a speed drill, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at a Michigan Satellite Camp at Pearl High School in Pearl. Satellite camps continue to be a controversial issue in college football with one side believing they are a great way to generate opportunities for high school prospects and the other side that believes they must be better regulated so coaches do not gain an edge in recruiting.
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh urges the more than 500 high school football players to listen to his explanation to a speed drill, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at a Michigan Satellite Camp at Pearl High School in Pearl. Satellite camps continue to be a controversial issue in college football with one side believing they are a great way to generate opportunities for high school prospects and the other side that believes they must be better regulated so coaches do not gain an edge in recruiting. AP

Big changes to college football — and more specifically recruiting — could be looming.

The NCAA Division I Council submitted a proposal Wednesday calling for a number of changes involving camps and clinics, the recruiting calendar, coaching limits and “regulating employment of individuals associated with prospects.”

Perhaps the biggest change would be the addition of two, 72-hour early signing periods beginning on the last Wednesday in June and in mid-December. The current prep signing period begins on the first Wednesday in February. If passed, the proposal would be effective for the 2017-18 signing class.

“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly,” chair of the Football Oversight Committee and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference Bob Bowlsby said at NCAA.org. “We hit a sweet spot.”

Some college coaches have come out against this rule, stating that 17-year-olds who could change their mind shouldn’t be pushed to enter into a binding contract. Others, however, say it could be a positive as it would allow coaches to better manage scholarship numbers and recruiting hours. Theoretically, it could also lighten the pressure on recruits. If Johnny Quarterback signed during the June window he could experience his senior season without the constant recruitment from rival schools.

Satellite camps

It doesn’t appear satellite camps will be going away anytime soon — although they’re going to be limited a bit more.

The council’s proposal would cut camps and clinics to a 10-day limit, which do not need to be consecutive. Coaches can currently participate in camps during two periods of 15 days.

According to the proposal, the camps must also be “owned, operated and conducted by NCAA member schools and occur on the school’s campus or in facilities the school primarily uses for practice or competition.” That means Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which partnered with schools like Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU last summer, would not be allowed to hold an elite camp of the same magnitude.

“We needed to limit the number of days (for camps and clinics) and do things differently than we did before,” Bowlsby said. “But the best chance for us to manage this is to acknowledge that the summer is about recruiting, not skill development, and to manage it in ways that reflect best on our universities and the process.”

Camp changes, if approved in April, would be effective immediately for the 2016-17 recruiting cycle.

More assistant coaches

The council is also entertaining the idea of increasing the number of assistant coaches from nine to 10.

“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” Bowlsby said in the release. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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