A proposed NCAA rule change would close one of the biggest recruiting loopholes in college football, but it would also have some unintended consequences for coaches who want to make it in the college ranks.
The NCAA is expected to approve bylaw 11.4.3 this week, which would keep college football programs from hiring a recruit’s high school coach in a non-coaching capacity for two years before he enrolls and two years after.
The rule would keep schools from hiring a player’s coach (or other any other person “associated” with the player) just to gain an advantage in recruiting him. But it could also limit opportunities for respected high school coaches to make the jump to the next level.
Here’s the rule from NCAA.org:
“In football, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the prospective student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ (or enter into a contract for future employment with) an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department noncoaching staff position or in a strength and conditioning staff position.”
What would be illegal?
A football program could not hire high school coaches to non-coaching roles in football, or anywhere else in its athletic department, if it is also going to recruit at that high school.
For instance, Alabama wouldn’t have been able to hire Jeremy Pruitt in 2007. Pruitt joined the program as a director of player development after serving as the defensive coordinator at Hoover High School in Birmingham. But the Crimson Tide had brought in multiple recruits from Hoover over the previous two years, which would have kept Pruitt from being a candidate for the job.
Likewise, Michigan’s recent attempt to hire the father of a top quarterback recruit would be illegal, since it would have been in a noncoaching role.
What would still be allowed?
A school could still hire a recruit’s high school coach as one of its nine full-time, on-field assistants for football.
For instance, Arkansas would have still been allowed to hire Gus Malzahn as offensive coordinator in 2006, even though he had coached incoming quarterback Mitch Mustain at Springdale High School.
How would this affect HS coaches?
The new rule would keep many high school coaches getting jobs at most of the college programs where they have relationships and connections.
High school coaches could only take non-coaching jobs at programs far away that don’t recruit their high school. They could still be hired as full-time assistants, but it’s much harder to make that jump. Programs more often ease those coaches into the college ranks as recruiting coordinators or in other similar roles.