If there’s one thing we can pretty much all agree on, it’s that the NCAA sucks. However, they seem to be interested in sucking less, so much so that they are researching ways to improve the rulebook governing college athletics by slimming it down. Of course, some might say that it is not the rules so much as the inconsistent application of them that makes the NCAA the laughing stock that it has become, but at least they are trying.
According to documents obtained by the Birmingham News, an NCAA working group is considering several changes to the rulebook as it stands now. Among the most notable are…
—Allowing transfers in all sports to play right away. This would eliminate the one-year rule that is currently in place in basketball and football, among other sports, which keeps athletes from being able to play at a new school immediately upon transferring except in special cases such as hardship and graduation. Ryan Harrow and his not-so-husky voice wishes this rule was already in place so he could play right now, but in this humble blogger’s opinion it seems like eliminating the obstacles to transferring could cause more problems than it solves.
—Reducing restrictions on athletic dorms, which were eliminated in the 1990s. Instead, the NCAA wants individual schools to establish their own policies on housing athletes.
—Allowing coaches to speak publicly about unsigned recruits, either during the entire process or once they are committed. Social media and technology have made it more difficult to monitor these comments and the group says that it is arguable whether such comments would truly create an advantage.
–Expand restrictions on third-party individuals in the recruiting process who are hired by schools for non-coaching jobs. These rules already exist in basketball but would be extended to other sports.
Here are some of the other possible changes covered by The Birmingham News:
• Eliminate restrictions on the number of off-campus recruiters at one time. The rule was adopted to contain costs, but the group found no evidence that it has worked and said it’s hard to enforce. This was the so-called “Tiger Prowl” rule related to Auburn football coaches blanketing the state in stretch limos.
• Give schools more freedom to govern what happens on official visits by recruits. Eliminate rules once put in place to address isolated cases of perceived recruiting advantages.
• Eliminate rules about how to scout opponents since video is now widespread. The Division I Legislative Council still prefers prohibiting live scouting in all sports except for same-site competition games.
• No longer require coaches to become annually certified on NCAA rules. Schools would be responsible for educating coaches about recruiting rules.
• Let schools have earlier access to recruits in all sports, starting on June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year of high school. The idea is for recruits and schools to make more informed decisions.
• Remove restrictions on what schools, conferences and the NCAA can provide for team entertainment, such as professional sports tickets and movie tickets.
• Give schools greater discretion to provide financial relief to family members of an athlete who are sick or injured. The bylaws would remove the reference of “life-threatening.”
The NCAA needs fixing, and this seems like a start. We’ll see how much of this comes to bear, but at least they’re taking a swing at reworking a rulebook that basically everyone thinks is a joke.