I don’t think Chip Towers’ post on Georgia’s reaction to the new NCAA recruiting rules is unreasonable in its logic, but that doesn’t mean it’s unquestionable. For one thing, he makes an assumption that hasn’t played out yet.
Bylaw 18.104.22.168.1.1 on “non-coaching staff members” expressly forbids people in positions such as Steele from analyzing video of prospects or interacting with prospects or current players in any on-field coaching capacity. Yes, the new proposals allow them to communicate with prospects by mail, email, text or phone call. But all indications are those proposals are going to be overturned by schools by the end of the override period, which is March 20th. Then what are these new hires going to do?
I haven’t seen anything yet that suggests all the proposals are going to be overturned in their entirety. I do think the most expensive stuff – the unlimited mailings, for example – isn’t likely to survive. But the non-coaching staff issue? I’m far from sure about that, because there are already a lot of schools invested in that area. Including, as Towers points out in his very next paragraph, Georgia:
Besides, a closer look reveals that Georgia is pretty well-stocked as it is when it comes to “non-coaching personnel” in the athletic department. A quick check of the Bulldogs’ administrative directory shows that UGA already has a director of football operations (Brad Hutcherson), a director of player development (John Eason), a director of player welfare (Dave Van Halanger), a director of on-campus recruiting (Darryl Jones), a recruiting program coordinator (Connie Connelly), a program coordinator (Bryant Gantt) and a recruiting assistant (Ben Bradenburg). That doesn’t count Josh Brooks, whose responsibilities as assistant AD for internal operations have mostly to do with football; Mike Cavan, a former major college head football coach who primarily works as an athletics fundraiser but is also a de facto football consultant for Athletic Director Greg McGarity; and several graduate assistant coaches and video coordinators.
As these are people already there, there’s no expense issue in adapting to the new rules. It’s more a matter of how much additional on-campus recruiting responsibilities are placed on those folks as part of their job descriptions.
Towers concludes by asking a question that infers there’s little to be achieved from this – I mean, how many people do you need to oversee 100 players and sign 25 prospects a year to scholarships? – but here’s what I wonder. If there’s nothing to be gained from it, why did Nick Saban hire Kevin Steele in the first place? And why is Greg McGarity fighting so hard to overturn the change?