UA deals with new recruiting reforms

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson talks to UA grid recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn about the new NCAA recruiting reforms.

With a whole new list of recruiting visit rules to play by, all college athletic departments around the country are having to come up with a new gameplan - one that somehow offsets the loss of some glitz and glamour with a little more creativity.

It's one that has to be meticulously spelled out on paper and has to be on file at NCAA headquarters before even one person can make an official visit no matter what the sport.

Considering fall football weekends around here are some of the best foot forwards the UA can put forth, time is of the essence according to UA recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn.

"Not only do we have to get the guys prepared that we already have here, but have to get a proper understanding and plan on how to now best recruit the ones we want to be here," Vaughn said. "And it's not only with the official visit part of things. We have tons of prospects who will show up unofficially for games and you have to be certain just what the impact of the new rules are on the situations. We want to make sure we are doing everything 100 percent the right way."

UA senior associate athletic director Derrick Gragg is working with Razorback head football coach Houston Nutt and Vaughn as well as representatives of the other sports on campus to get things in line with the new NCAA reforms.

Some of the changes brought forth by the NCAA include:

• Recruits can only be served typical meals and put up in standard rooms, not the five-star jobs some have used to their advantage in the past.

• No personal recruiting aides such as a jersey with the recruit's name on it or his name in lights on the scoreboard.

• No special vehicles - such as a Hummer on loan from a car dealer or limousine can be used to pick up players at the airport. Only school vehicles and standard equipped vehicles will be allowed.

• There will now be a ban on the use of private and charter planes to bring recruits to campus on official visits.

That last one will no doubt make it harder for those schools like Arkansas without a major hub airport that has flights coming in and out and all times.

In the past, Arkansas could fly a private plane or the school plane to a remote place in Arkansas, Texas or elsewhere and pick up a kid after his football or basketball game on Friday night.

"Take a kid like (current UA freshman football player) Shedrick Johnson, who lived an hour-and-a-half away from the Houston airport," Vaughn said. "Last year we were able to just fly in and get him after his basketball game. Now he would have to drive to Houston , catch a plane - some would even then have to make a connection - and not get here until Saturday afternoon.

"And kids can't stay until Monday now like they used to," Vaughn said. The kids have to be back in school on Monday morning. And we don't have many if any flights leaving out of here after 7 or 8. So that means you are now going to have some of them far less than 48 hours. But we will make the best out of it and we will find a way."

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The Razorbacks will still be able to use its Razorback Belles to host recruits on gameday after some uncertainty on whether the NCAA was going to ban those type of groups in its reforms, but then did not do so.

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UA basketball prospect Jovan Adams, a 6-1, 190 point guard from Houston Gulfshores, said Tuesday that the Razorbacks remain his clear leader and that he will likely only visit UNLV (Aug. 28-30) and Arkansas (Sept. 3-5).

"That's my plan," Adams said. "Arkansas is still solidly number one."


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