Category Archives: The NCAA


If you’re a coach like Kirby Smart or Nick Saban who’s already unhappy about the new NCAA rule that places limits on hiring high school coaches who, through no fault of their own, coincidentally happen to have highly regarded recruits on their roster, you’re probably going to go nuclear over the NCAA’s next initiative.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby promised Friday that the NCAA Football Oversight Committee will take a “holistic look at staff sizes” within the next year, meaning that the proliferation of various analysts and other support positions could soon be regulated.

Speaking in a conference call with reporters in his role as Football Oversight Committee chairman, Bowlsby said the committee has two priorities for the coming year. First is adjusting the college football calendar as pertains to recruiting and practice times.

The second priority is a “deep dive on personnel.” The NCAA on Friday approved a 10th on-field assistant coach, and though that will not immediately affect the number of analysts a program can hire, Bowlsby said the time has come to examine staff sizes in college football.

“I think that door has been open for a while,” Bowlsby said. “We’re seeing very large staff. We see non-coaching personnel doing coaching duties. It is one of our two priorities for the Football Oversight Committee for the coming year … looking at personnel and how personnel should be deployed in the football coaching staff environment.”

Bowlsby did not identify any schools by names, but Alabama and Ohio State are among those most often mentioned to be bending the rules on personnel size. Bowlsby noted that one school — again, whom he did not mention — employed a football staff of 97 people, including on-field coaches, off-field player personnel staff, recruiting assistants and various analysts and graduate assistants.

You’ve got to admit if the Analyst Inn is full up, then it really doesn’t matter if that high school coach looking to move up has a gotta-have-Johnny Football on his roster.

Not that Greg McGarity is likely to strenuously object, either.



Filed under The NCAA

Coaches crossfire


In addition, Smart reiterated his position against a rule the Division I Council approved that will prevent colleges from hiring anyone closely associated with a prospective student-athlete for a “two-year period before and after the student’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school.”

Smart said this rule is a hindrance to good high school coaches who are trying to break in at the college level.

“It’s hard in the coaching profession to grow coaches and develop coaches like we do in the SEC without the ability to hire high school coaches,” Smart said. “And they still argue, ‘You can still hire them, you just can’t hire the ones with prospects.’ Well, when you sign 25 (players) a year it’s hard not to hire one who may interact with a prospect. It does limit those guys so that’s a disappointing part of that rule.”


“I think it’s a good idea,” new Western Kentucky head coach Mike Sanford told CoachingSearch. “That’s gotten out of control, it really has. If you really want to hire that coach and the value of getting the coach on the staff, then chose the coach over the recruit. If you do truly just want to get a recruit, then abide by that rule.”

Methinks Kirby doth protest too much, but I’m not the one with the big budget for analysts.


Filed under College Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

Wrist-slap, and a beaut

The NCAA hits former Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis with a two-year show cause order for this:

According to the NCAA, Davis knowingly committed a recruiting violation when he took part in an impermissible meeting with four prospective recruits that was pre-arranged by a booster.

Davis then provided false or misleading information about the meeting and the booster’s involvement when questioned by Alabama and the NCAA, according to the NCAA.

His former employer?  Well, there’s a slight inconvenience, self-imposed.

Alabama had already self-imposed three penalties, a $5,000 fine, disassociation from the booster and restricting Davis and his replacement, Karl Dunbar, from off-campus recruiting or telephone contact with recruits from April 22, 2016 through May 31, 2016.

Oof.  That’s rough.  For the booster, I mean.


Filed under The NCAA, Whoa, oh, Alabama

25, the hard way

One more thing about NCAA Proposal No. 2016-116 — while the part affecting hiring high school coaches has gotten a fair amount of howling from SEC coaches, including Kirby Smart, there is another provision that doesn’t seem to have drawn much of a reaction, somewhat to my surprise.

Limitation of annual scholarships to 25

If passed: Effective Aug. 1, 2017, affecting newcomers in 2018.

Need to know: This is a move to do away with oversigning and to reduce the practice of grayshirting, blueshirting and greenshirting. If you’re color-blind to these practices, don’t worry, it likely won’t matter much after this year.

The legislation would limit to 25 the number of prospects whose aid is initially offered in the fall term of an academic year. Current rules limit to 25 the number of prospects allowed to sign from Dec. 1 through May 31.

Central to the proposed changes, walk-ons who have not been enrolled for two years and transfers will both count against the 25-player limit. A walk-on awarded a scholarship after two or more years enrolled will not count against the limit.

A prospect whose scholarship paperwork specifies that he’ll be offered aid in the second or third term of an academic year may count toward the current academic year or the next year.

The SEC has proposed an amendment that would allow a newcomer who, before participating in competition, is injured or ill — to the point that he will apparently never again be able to play — to not count against any limit.

That strikes me as a pretty radical change to the way many Southern schools have gone about their business.  (Mark Richt, no doubt, is thinking, “about damned time”.)  Other than the amendment mentioned in the last paragraph in the quoted passage, though, I haven’t heard much of a peep from anyone in the SEC in response.  Is Nick Saban really that comfortable with the change?


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

“If it falls apart, watch out.”

The NCAA appears to have taken a “spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” approach to recruiting reform with its 2016-116 proposal scheduled to be voted on by the end of this week.

Will that work?

But finally, most everyone who matters seems to be on board at least for a mid-December early signing date that would coincide with the junior college period. Proposal No. 2016-116 took years to craft; experts warn it could be picked apart.

The bundled package resembles a Congressional bill with typical partisan elements built in. Within the legislation is a proposal for a 10th full-time assistant coach. Was that enough to get the coaches to support an early signing period?

Any attempt to undo the bundle and make the proposals ala carte could mean failure.

“There are people who like some parts of it, not all parts of it,” Bowlsby said of the overall proposals. “So there is a fair amount of horse trading to be done.”

I’ve already linked to the story about Gus Malzahn pitching a fit about restrictions on hiring high school coaches.  Nick Saban is irritated as only Saban can be about camp restrictions.  Both apparently have company on those issues.  As Dodd notes in his article, though, there are aspects of the proposal that many coaches like, such as adding the tenth staff member.

If the sweet parts aren’t enough to entice the coaches to hold their noses, what happens then?  Probably nothing good.

If major-college football chooses to adopt all these measures, one high-profile recruiting expert called it “revolutionary.”

If not, one high-ranked source in the process speculated the NCAA Board of Governors may take over reform themselves. No one wants that.

Watch the vote to see who has the leverage.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA

The Auburn defense

I give this an “A” for originality.

An attorney in North Carolina’s ongoing academic scandal wants Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey removed as head of the NCAA infractions panel hearing the case because of a conflict of interest.

Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams wrote the NCAA this month saying Sankey ”has a personal, professional and institutional interest in the outcome” of the case involving his client, Deborah Crowder, a retired UNC officer administrator. He compared Sankey’s involvement to ”the Commissioner of the SEC refereeing a championship game between an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team and an SEC team.”

He also described Sankey as a potential witness regarding a previous case at Auburn during his time as an SEC associate commissioner that had similarities but didn’t lead to major violations.

I don’t think this has a shot in hell of succeeding, but you’ve got to admire his moxie.  And I have to admit I’d love to hear Sankey explain himself.


Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, SEC Football, The NCAA

Doing it for the high school coaches

Wow, Gus, this sounds dire.  Grave, even.

“This rule will in essence be a death sentence to any high school coach wanting to coach college (football),” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “It’s putting an end to it, and it’s not fair.”

What’s the rule?

The proposal, part of a comprehensive recruiting reform package to be considered this week by the NCAA’s Division I Council, is an attempt to prevent hires made in hopes of gaining an edge with recruits who are associated with the new employee. It applies to “individuals associated with a prospect” (IAWP); along with high school coaches, it would apply to junior college coaches, as well as others such as family members of recruits. It would mirror a rule already in place for NCAA basketball…

A college would be prevented from hiring a high school coach for a support role if it had recruited a player from his school in the previous two years and would be prohibited from recruiting players from that high school for two years after the hire.

Gosh, how inconvenient that must be for you.

The IAWP rule proposal does not prohibit hiring high school coaches for an on-field assistant coaching position — which was the path of Morris and Malzahn — or limit recruiting from the coach’s former high school in that instance. But such direct moves aren’t the norm…  [Emphasis added.]

Said Malzahn: “The goal is they learn college football for a year or two and then they get a job (as an on-field assistant).”

Well, the goal for everyone else, apparently.

Malzahn, who was a high school coach before moving into college coaching in 2006 as an assistant at Arkansas, has hired nine high school coaches, including Drinkwitz.

“Not one time did I recruit any of their players,” he said. “I’m trying to put good high school coaches and people into college football. We’re not hiring them to get players here. If that rule passes, it’s gonna hurt. Every one of those (nine coaches), I wouldn’t have been able to hire.”

If you weren’t recruiting their players, why couldn’t you have hired them?  And if you’re not hiring them to get their players, how is the rule going to hurt?

It’s tough being a control freak, I guess.  The only thing missing from his whine is a half-assed insistence that the rule is somehow going to hurt the players, too.


Filed under College Football, The NCAA