Michael Carvell has a couple of good posts up about the NCAA rule that allows high school seniors who are approved for early enrollment to sign financial aid agreements with colleges beginning on August 1 of their senior year.
The first is an interview with Mark Richt and Paul Johnson on how big a deal it is. Both sort of have a wait-and-see feeling about it, although Richt seems more critical, which is somewhat ironic, since he took advantage of the rule last year with Josh Malone.
“I think it kind of caught everybody by surprise,” Richt told the AJC. “Some people took advantage of it, and some people didn’t. I don’t know how to say it, but I think with a whole year of planning, it may be used a little bit different in the future – more often and more aggressively.
“Will that in turn cause restriction? My guess is that this will be a short-lived thing. We may go through with one more year of it, or we may think it through between now and then, and say ‘I’m not sure this is the wisest thing to do.’ Or it may become such a common practice that it’s not problematic. But my guess is that there will be some issues come up that might make everybody rethink it.”
Which brings us to Carvell’s second piece. As you may know, the NCAA spun out an interpretation of the rule that restricted its application, by requiring that if a high school senior signed more than one such financial aid agreement, only the first college he signed with would have the benefits of unlimited contact and publicity. What you may not know is that the SEC isn’t happy about the interpretation and has filed an appeal.
However, a top NCAA official told the AJC that the new interpretation has been appealed by the SEC since then. The NCAA’s Div. I Legislative Council will review the matter in an April 15 session.
“The official interpretation has created a little bit of a concern among some in the membership that aren’t comfortable with — that it might result in inadvertent violations,” said Steve Mallonee, the NCAA’s Managing Director of Academic and Membership Affairs.
Now before you think that the SEC is growing a conscience and doing something right by recruits, think again. This is all about one conference school not getting screwed over by another.
“If an institution is going to sign a kid, they would need to make sure he hasn’t signed with anybody else if they are going to engage in unlimited access. The issue becomes if the kid already signed with school A, and school B, C and D also signs him.
“B, C and D don’t get the unlimited access. And if they engage in that, they would be engaging in NCAA violations. It becomes the responsibility of each institution to make that determination, and there’s some who don’t feel like that’s the appropriate stance.
“That’s the concern because A, B, C, and D don’t have to share that (information with each other). So B may not let D know. You’re basically taking the word of the kid. That’s part of the issue.”
Unlike the NLI program, which is supervised by the NCAA, the financial aid agreements are shared only between the recruit and the respective college. For example, Tennessee will not disclose to UGA, Clemson and Florida State if next year’s Josh Malone (a) signs a financial aid agreement with Tennessee or (b) the date of signed agreement.
And ultimately, as I posted before, about coaches’ control.
Whatever they wind up with after addressing the appeal, as is usually the case in such matters, they will attempt to spin it as something positive for recruits. And, as is usually the case in such matters, they will be lying about that.