Donovan Approves of Recruiting Rules Change

The NCAA made changes to recruiting in college basketball in the offseason, and it could benefit Billy Donovan and his Florida staff. The changes encourage the building of relationships between recruits and coaches. It's free reign for coaches to contact a recruit by phone or social media once he completes his sophomore year of high school.

"If you look at the last three-five years in college basketball, there has been a monumental transfer rate every year that seems to get higher and higher," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "I think a lot of that has to do with some of the recruiting model and limitations on what we've been able to do contact-wise with players."

With an open contact policy for high school players and college coaches, Donovan expects that to change. Players will develop better relationships with the colleges they choose to become acquainted with a full two years before they show up on a college campus.

Prospects and coaches will know if it's the best fit for both sides before the prospect shows up on campus.

"I've never felt as a coach like you get a chance to know a prospect and the prospect doesn't get a chance to know you," Donovan said. "If you've got a player you're recruiting geographically that's close to campus and has the ability to come on campus and develop that relationship, you can get a better feel of the player and the player has a better feel for your program.

"Once you're getting away from your area, you're limited to what we were limited with, even in July we couldn't make phone calls. It was a process that promoted everybody making bad decisions and choices. Between caller ID, e-mail and text messaging, these guys have the ability to communicate with who they want to communicate with and not communicate with who they don't want to communicate with."

Donovan believed the recruiting rules were more suited for longer ago before social media was an important part of society. All social media is now fair game for coaches to use in their recruiting.

It also emphasizes prioritizing for both parties. Prospects will focus in on the schools they are most interested in from the beginning since they have the ability to avoid the schools they don't want to play for. It can also work the other way for coaches.

"If anything, if a kid is being inundated with messages from a lot of schools, it allows the kid to get serious much earlier about who does he really want to look at," Donovan said. "Who are the schools he's most interested in?

"Opening up the lines between two parties is the healthiest and best way to get to know each other."

WELCOMING Missouri: Donovan has a bigger comfort level with Missouri than most coaches in the SEC. The Florida staff began preparing for the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament. The second round matchup was supposed to be between Florida and Missouri, but Norfolk State beat Missouri in the first round.

Despite the upset, the Florida coaching staff was impressed with what they saw of Frank Haith's team in his first year as the head coach.

"They had an incredible year. Frank did a great job with his team," Donovan said. "They lost a lot, but they've had a lot sitting out. Missouri has a tremendous athletic following in football, basketball and all their sports. They're a great addition to our league.

"Last year, they were definitely one of the top five teams from start to finish. I was impressed with the way they played and how explosive they were offensively. The addition of them to our league, with the addition of (Texas) A&M, will only help the SEC."


Fightin Gators Top Stories