One of the things that former University of Washington President and current NCAA Executive Director Mark Emmert is attempting to do is to streamline the Britannica-esque rulebook for college sports. And a big chunk of that book pertains to what can and can't be done in the world of recruiting. These new rules that are to be enacted will help to do that, and the main fashion in which they will is to drop a lot of the rules, minutia and details. Here are some of the biggest changes:
- Teams will be able to hire a recruiting coordinator and staff separate from the on-field coaches. They will be able to do everything that the head coach and assistants can except for recruit off campus.
- There will be no more restrictions on how many coaches can recruit off campus at a given time.
- No more restrictions on methods or modes of communication, meaning that there can be unlimited texting. It also does away with quiet and dead periods.
- Schools don't have to send as much informative literature to recruits.
- There will no longer be restrictions on what printed materials can be sent to recruits.
How will these changes impact college football? Well, at first glance it looks like it will help to make the rich richer. The two changes that look to be the game changers are the first and third. Teams that can afford it can essentially empty their pockets to hire recruiting personnel, and have those people work full time making calls, sending texts, writing cards, whatever. The teams that are willing to put the money into it will have a longer reach, and will contact more prospects with greater frequency.
As for how this effects Washington, it's probably a positive, at least for the immediate future. There are two main reasons for this: the first is that as far as "haves" and "have nots" Washington is definitely on the "haves" end of the spectrum. They're in a power conference with new TV money, a history of success, a desire to win, a rabid fan base and a commitment to winning from the administration. In that sense, it would seem like they will be willing to put some money into additional support staff to get any possible edge, or to at least keep even with the other "haves" of college football and the Pac-12.
The second reason why it may be a positive for the Huskies is that it looks like recruiting is becoming a young man's game even moreso than it has in the past. 26, 31, 33, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38. Those are the ages of Jordan Paopao, Tosh Lupoi, Keith Heyward, Marques Tuiasosopo, Peter Sirmon, Justin Wilcox, Johnny Nansen and Steve Sarkisian respectively. The only members of the coaching staff over 40 are Dan Cozetto and Eric Kiesau. If you had to guess how many D-1A coaching staffs can claim these ages, or anything close, what would you say? You can almost certainly count them on one hand, and in a BCS conference it's all but unheard of. And who would you rather have texting and tweeting and direct messaging and whathaveyou with 16-18 year olds? The UW staff is clearly dogged in their recruiting efforts, and removing restrictions on them could be like a bull in a china shop.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I have no doubt that teams will go over the top and having it backlash. Some kids will grow tired of the nonstop bombardment and may get turned off from some staffs. And I'm sure it won't be a situation where programs are hiring 50 guys to fill these spots, as the full time coaches will want to forge those connections and get a feel for the kids on their own. Remember, most of these guys got where they are by being obsessive with details and controlling every aspect of what's going on around them. If you think they're just going to sit back an let their fate rest in the hands of nonessential coaches making strides with their potential future players, you've got another thing coming. But early on, there could be a feeling out period.
Expect some teams to go overboard, and some to not put enough resources into it, and a few years down the road teams will find out where they're comfortable. And that's the point when the NCAA will probably blow it all up by changing the rules again and they'll be back at square one.