Sam Webb: With a new staff in, you have some interesting dynamics, like when you have a coach whose son is a recruit, what are some of the compliance issues. How could that work, how could LeBron James say, hey I want to get the Ohio State team Beats headphones and it be legal?
Cody Weber: “For anything there are awards that are able to be received and some of those are with bowl games and national championship type events. There are limits on those on items that can be received. I don’t know the price of Beats headphones off the top of my head, so there are set amounts and I think it is for 100s of bowl games like that. There are a variety of ways and as Ira mentioned, I do not know specifically what went on in that situation, but there are ways to make things work like that.”
Sam Webb: Let’s go through the process of new coaches coming in. What’s the process that they have to go through before they can get on the phone with recruits, before they can get on the road and start actually recruiting players.
Cody Weber: “Before they get on the road they have to pass the NCAA recruiting test, which I think we had you take last year and that is in order to get on the road that must be passed. It is a 30 question, 60 minute test that every coach must take in order to be able to go on the road. In order to get on the phone with recruits, that is not a requirement. That is more something that you are designated by the institution as one of the coaches. It is more of a requirement with that, there is no test.”
Sam Webb: Let’s say you’re a coach like Tyrone Wheatley and you have a son who is a higher recruited player getting courted all over the country. What restrictions if any are on you when you yourself are a coach and that’s your son. Are there any restrictions on you on what you can talk about and what you can say in dealing with your own son?
Cody Weber: “I think in any situation when we deal with prospects in general whose parents may be coaches, in that matter is always a bit of a unique circumstance and things are often times…we often say most the times, being the father or mother trumps the coach status. As you know in any situation there may be limit on off campus contact and things like that. That doesn’t mean that, of course you can’t go home and see your child as a general matter (laughter). In most cases, we look at each individual circumstance like that, but typically you can continue being a father, mother, parent or something like that.”
Ira Weintraub: To follow that up, to say as a recruiting reporter, say Sam wants to get a comment from the recruits parent, is Tyrone allowed to speak publically with Sam about his son if he becomes a Michigan coach officially, when that happens.
Cody Weber: “Coaches are not able to publicize a prospects recruitment in any way until after they sign an NOI or they have matriculated to the university. That is a general matter, so that is kind of the rule and there aren’t many exceptions for that.”
Sam Webb: Is that one that is open to interpretation because I know for instance when Trey Zeigler was being recruited and his dad was the head coach at Central Michigan, he was allowed to do interviews on his son, talking about his son’s recruitment. Is that something that is open to interpretation, has there been a rule change?
Cody Weber: “I think we would look at the individual circumstance in any situation with that and kind of see what the situation is with that and surrounding that and go from there.”
Sam Webb: Let’s talk about staffing and the support staff role. Is there a limit to when it comes to the quality control ranks, the analysts, is there a limit to the sizes of those respective staffs that programs have to abide by?
Cody Weber: “The NCAA does not have a limit on noncoaching staff members. Of course, there is a limit on the number of accountable head coaches, one head coach, nine assistant coaches, you can have up to four graduate assistants. There is a limit on the number of strength coaches that you can have working with football. That number is five, but in terms of noncoaching staff, there is no NCAA limit.”
Sam Webb: What can graduate assistants do and what can quality control assistants do? Can you break down the limits of what their duties can be?
Cody Weber: “Graduate assistants, are graduate assistant coaches, so they can actually be involved in coaching, whether it being during practice, in games, something as simple as you should do this. Graduate assistant coaches are only in the sport of rowing and football. If you have non-coaching staff members, what we call them is noncoaching sport specific staff members, they are not allowed to be involved in any coaching activities. They wouldn’t be allowed to demonstrate a drill during practice or instruct someone, hey this is how you should do this activity or things like that. They do more things not working directly with the student athlete in an academic sense during their athletic activities.”
Sam Webb: So the only support staff that are allowed to actually do coaching would be the graduate assistants.
Cody Weber: “If we’re talking football. There are potential ones, there are other categories for individuals called undergraduate student assistant coaches. Those individuals have either exhausted their eligibility but are still working on their undergraduate degree, or individuals who have become injured or ill to the point where they can no longer compete athletically and they are still working on their undergraduate degree. They are able to work with student athletes during practice or competition, the same way a graduate assistant coach would be able too. Another category that we have in some sports is volunteer coaches. There are volunteers coaches in every sport but football and basketball. These individuals are exactly as the name sound, volunteers. There is a limit to how many we can have, but they are able to coach as well during practice and games.”
Sam Webb: Definitions that are important on the recruiting calendar and we’ve talked about this before, but if you can break them down for the listeners, you’ve got the quiet period, the dead period, you have the evaluation period, is there another one? The contact period, can you break those down for fans so they can understand the differences.
Cody Weber: “Yes. So right now on January 14, each sport has their own recruiting calendar and with those they break down of what category they’re in. Speaking to football specifically, on January 14, they are on the last day of a dead period. They have been in a dead period since December 15. During a dead period, coaches are not allowed to go off campus to have contact or evaluate prospects, as well as prospects are not permitted to come on campus to make official or unofficial visits. Coaches are still permitted to call, email and send letters during a dead period. They’re permitted to text if it is a sport that allows texting. Football is not one of those. Starting in football for example, tomorrow begins a contact period, which contact period is as exactly as it sounds. That is a time when coaches are able to go off campus to have contact with prospects in pretty much all sports except for basketball and ice hockey. Contact cannot be made off campus with a prospect until their senior year. Typically, July 1 prior to the start of their senior year. As you mentioned, there is also quiet periods which is a time when coaches can't go off campus, but we can have prospects come on campus for visits. There is also evaluation period, which is times when you can go evaluate, so just go watch a game, but you can't have physical contact with a prospect or a parent during that time.”
Sam Webb: Let’s say there is a graduate student transfer, say there is a kid from another school that is interested in a number of other schools, what is the contact limitation there as far as a coach from say Michigan wanting to interact with that player?
Cody Weber: “The general rule with any transfer is that in order for a school to talk with a transfer, the original school has to grant that individual of contact to the new school or number of new schools and they basically state, hey you’re allowed to have contact with these schools and they may list schools. They may place no restriction, whatever that may be in an individual circumstance. Once that comes in place, they’re basically treated the same as a high school senior in the sense in the amount of phone calls that are able to be placed or whether text messages are allowed or contact off campus or things like that. They basically become a recruitable prospect at that time and they’re treated as such.”
Sam Webb: Are the limitations on in conference transfers within the Big Ten, do those go away when we’re talking about a student that has graduated from the institution that he is transferring from?
Cody Weber: “I think it is individually, I don’t know the rule of that off the top of my head. I think individually you have to look at it and it may depend on agreement among the school and things like that. I’m not 100% sure of the rules off the top of my head with graduate transfers within the Big Ten and it might vary by sport as well.”