The NCAA endorsed a football recruiting rules overhaul on Friday that will allow high school football players to sign with colleges as early as December and put a two-year waiting period on Bowl Subdivision teams from hiring people close to a recruit.
If the package is approved by the Board of Governors on April 26, the signing period change would take effect Aug. 1. The Collegiate Commissioners Association would need to change the dates, a move expected to happen in June. The other significant change to the recruiting calendar would allow recruits to make official visits between April and June of their junior year in high school.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he expects broad support from both groups.
“There were disagreements, there were compromises but at the end of the day, I think we’ve come up with the most comprehensive and impactful package we’ve had in football in 25 or 30 years,” Bowlsby said. “I think the outcomes are consistent with the board’s directive, and I'll be quite surprised if it isn’t adopted on the same basis that we approved it at the council level.”
The Division I Council also backed a measure to eliminate two-a-day practices that would take effect immediately if approved.
“Today’s adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches,” committee chairman Jim Phillips said in a statement. Phillips is Northwestern’s vice president for athletics and recreation.
Not all of the proposals passed, including a push for a June signing period.
“The June date, there was resistance to that, especially among coaches, but we’re going to take a look at whether we can find one that’s earlier (than December),” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, chairman of the Division I football oversight committee.
Schools will now be limited to signing only 25 recruits per year, in hopes of eliminating “oversigning.” Exceptions will be made for current players who have attended classes for at least two years and athletes who suffer incapacitating injuries.
Other highlights of the rules changes up for final approval by the board:
▪ FBC schools will be barred from hiring people “close to a prospective student-athlete” for a two-year period before and after the athlete’s enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men’s basketball in 2010.
▪ FBS coaches will be limited to participating in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July, and the camps must take place on a school’s campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or play.
▪ Coaches employed at a camp or clinic will be allowed to have recruiting conversations with prospects.
▪ FBS schools can hire a 10th assistant football coach effective Jan. 9.