Never one to publicly take a stance on any controversial issue, Maryland Coach Randy Edsall had little trouble expressing his opinion over the NCAA’s recent rule changes concerning recruiting.
In late January, the NCAA Board of Directors approved multiple rulebook revisions, including the elimination of restrictions governing the methods by which coaches contact recruits. This includes texting and phone calls. According to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, the five recruiting-specific rule changes were as follows:
Proposal 11-2, which allows for football programs to hire a recruiting coordinator and support staff separate from the coaching staff, any of whom can partake in all recruiting activities save for off-campus visits.
Proposal 11-4, which eliminates restrictions on how many coaches can recruit off campus at a given time.
Proposal 13-3, which “eliminate[s] restrictions on methods and modes of communication during recruiting,” meaning no texting barriers, quiet periods or dead periods.
Proposal 13-4, which eliminates a list of required materials (a banned-drug list, APR data) schools must send to recruits.
Proposal 13-5A, which eliminates restrictions on sending printed materials (media guides, comic books, etc.) to recruits.
Edsall’s not on board. Not one bit. Maryland’s athletics department doesn’t exactly have money to throw toward new hires, nor does Edsall view constant communication with recruits to be an appropriate use of his time.
Within his 33-minute news conference was this protest:
“In terms of the recruiting rules?” Edsall said. “I hate them. I think they were voted in without a lot of insight into what was going on. I know we’re going to try to get them all overridden, so they won’t go into effect. When I was at the Big Ten meetings, all the football coaches were unanimous in that position to work with their presidents and ADs to get them overridden. The same thing when I was on an ACC conference call last week.
“The one where it says, having someone else doing the recruiting coordination, they’re going to turn this into a pro scouting at the college level, where people are going to hire a director of player personnel, they’re going to hire four or five guys to watch film from every region of the country, then they’re going to have interns come in and do work for them. They’re turning it into a pro scouting department at the college level.
“Then the one with unlimited calls to kids who are juniors, I just think we’re going down a very slippery slope. What the NCAA is trying to do is make blanket rules for all the sports, and it doesn’t work that way. We had a meeting this morning with some of the head coaches here at Maryland. In football, I’ve got nine full-time coaches. And if that rule goes into effect, they’re going to have to call between 10 and 20 senior prospects every week. Well, then they’re going to be recruiting 25 to probably 35 junior prospects. Well now, they’re going to have to call all those juniors, because if you don’t, then you’re not showing them the love and they’ll get all upset. Now, I’m going to have coaches who will have to call anywhere from 35 to 50 kids during the week while we’re trying to game plan, coach our own players. And then, if each coach wants me to talk to, say, 10 of their guys that week, I’ve got 90 kids I have to talk to.
“When you try to put rules in to cover everything, you can’t, because we deal with such large numbers as opposed to most of the other sports. Then the other thing is, the added expense that this would incur an institution is going to be ridiculous, in terms of salaries and everything else. They need 75 votes to send it back to the working group and they need 125 to get it. Everybody, I know a lot of football coaches are trying to get with their ADs and presidents to overturn it, and get it overturned then develop sport-specific rules and regulations for everything. I just think they had the intent of trying to do things, but they never got coaches involved with saying, ‘Hey, here’s some of the issues you’ll have.’
“If they don’t override it and it goes into effect, it’ll be the wild, wild West. And then being able to do whatever you want with media guides and printed materials and everything else? There’s only a handful of schools that have all that money that would benefit. I would think that a couple of those, at least there were three major ones that we were looking at, would all get overridden and not go into effect.”