In previous years, coaches have been able to go out on two different weekends. In 2014, however, they'll head to travel events only on the weekend of April 24-26.
We touched base with our our national recruiting experts and asked them this question:
Given only one open weekend, what sort of changes do you expect that move to have on the recruiting trail? Do you think the altered timeline will slow down the offer and commitment pace from previous years, based on less frequent exposure, or does one less weekend really not make that much difference?
Josh Gershon: When you're dividing the amount of evaluations a coaching staff gets in one time period in half, everyone loses. The kids are going still be playing just as much as they would otherwise because there are still events practically every weekend, so they aren't being saved from school or fatigue, but the coaches will have less than 48 hours to watch players maybe once or twice and determine whether or not they should seriously recruit them.
What if the player has one really bad game? Or one really good game? The coaches will have a distorted opinion of that kid because they probably didn't see him that much over high school season — most college coaches are more concerned about their own teams in that time period, and rightfully so — and now mostly all weight has been placed on a one or two game eval for a kid most often playing on a new team with new teammates.
The quick evals are going to lead to some kids who have irregularly good games in front of coaches who then offer scholarships the players maybe aren't ready for, and those will often be the quicker commitments. For the kids who happen to not be at their best during that weekend, it could definitely slow down their recruitments.
Either way, the answer here is more opportunities for evals for college coaches, not fewer.
Brian Snow: I don't think it will have much of an impact honestly. Coaches, especially assistants, aren't happy about the change, but older head coaches wanted it this way, so it is what it is.
Basically, I think coaches will offer players having less information than ever, and rely on word of mouth as much as their own evaluations. Also, I don't think kids will be slowed down at all in committing.
Evan Daniels: I can't stand the ruling to be honest. The coaches need more time to evaluate players in the spring, not less. I think it slows things down some too, as they'll be so focused on the rising seniors and won't have ample time to evaluate underclassmen.
The kids will be out playing no matter what. Taking the coaches off the road and restricting their spring evaluations hurts the game and the kids.
Rob Harrington: Nothing positive can come from a limited evaluation period. The coaches had an option to pick another weekend but simply chose not to do so. That places more pressure than ever on their assistants seeing guys the one open weekend and not making a mistake.
Complicating the picture is the fact that it's very difficult to get a true gauge of a player in a single setting. Someone can have an especially good or bad weekend, and the next thing you know their recruitment becomes askew. This cycle would be a great time to have a commitment or two in hand before hitting the road. I'd hate to be a college coach needing to sign five or six players from the Class of 2015.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report