Recruiting Season Begins -- Ouimet On New Rules
"There are a lot of changes -- but these changes made are actually just the beginning, and most of the specifics are fairly minor."
# For the first time, the NCAA will require that each college adopt a written recruiting policy. Colleges must file policy drafts with their conferences before any recruits can visit this year.
"The Compliance Officers at each college have been working this summer to provide a detailed plan of what visits will entail at their school. Each college has to put together a master plan for the NCAA detailing just what, specifically, the visit will and won't be comprised of at their school. The plan has to be submitted to the NCAA (actually to conference headquarters for conference schools) before the school can host official visits. Then there will be a report on each visit - with recepts., etc. - that will be kept on each recruit for each visit. How will the NCAA monitor this? The school's complaince person has to do it, the NCAA can't. The NCAA is not going to have enforcement people on campuses, so it is up to each schools' Compliance Officers to enforce things."
# An explanation of how head coaches will discuss the policy with prospects.
"Recruits will have to sign a piece of paper when they start the visit, acknowledging the rules and promising to follow them. Of course, Colorado had already been doing this ... so the key here is compliance and enforcement."
# A prohibition of underage drinking, sex, drug use, gambling or gaming activities and the use of strippers during campus visits.
"Well this one is so obvious -- prohibiting illegal activities. Like I said, kids will sign a piece of paper on this when the visit starts. So the key to this one will be compliance and enforcement. In this past this has been laughed at by some schools."
# Statements about curfews, if any, and on- and off-campus entertainment.
"Notice that a curfew is not required. So some schools will have one, others won't. What the school will do regarding a curfew and off-campus entertainment will be in their Master Plan, but it will be up to the school ... although the NCAA will have to accept each school's plan. I don't think Michigan will have a curfew."
# Schools are allowed to provide recruits with typical meals and rooms, but not at five-star restaurants and hotels.
"The hotel restriction will not be an issue at U-M, since there are no five-star hotels in town. This WILL force a change elsewhere. A 'standard room', from what I'm told, means two queen beds, no jacuzzi (again, at some schools the rooms were suites, with jacuzzi, etc)."
"As far as restaurants - there will be a couple of the top steakhouses in Ann Arbor that will not make U-M's new 'restaurant list'. The Chop House for example. U-M used to take kids to the Gandi Dancer, so they may go back to that again."
"Schools will keep receipts on hotel and restaurant expenses."
# The new rules prohibit the use of charter flights or private planes on recruiting trips. Also, only school vehicles or standard-equipped vehicles will be allowed to transport recruits and their families.
"No private jets. That hurts the schools with no commercial airports. Purdue and Kansas State for example. Although some schools have used private jets even though they didn't have to -- Ohio State for example. Michigan has never used private jets for recruits."
"Michigan will now use its school vans exclusively to drive recruits around, not rented cars or vans."
# The NCAA also approved a provision that prohibits schools from using personal recruiting aids such as names on the backs of jerseys and scoreboard presentations during campus visits.
"They have eliminated using the Jumbotron (announcing the recruit's name, and showing a video of the recruit or of Michigan highlights). Or putting a kid's nameplate on a locker in the locker room, with the kid's name on a jersey hanging in the locker. Michigan did not do this while I was there, but everyone else was doing it so U-M finally started it. The problem here was abuse -- at other schools the kids would take the jersey home, etc."
# The new rules prohibit using volunteers to host recruits.
"For Michigan that means Team Blue can't escort recruits from place to place during a visit or sit or with them at the games. Team Blue was used as guides for recruits, getting them from place to place. Now Michigan will either have to hire some people to do this, or use injured players, or redshirting freshmen or walk-ons."
"There are still a lot of grey areas left ... and schools will always find the grey areas. And, these rules will lead to something bigger down the road I believe. The biggies would be:
- a curfew during the visit.
- a parent coming along on the visit; this one would be expensive but schools would be saving the money elsewhere. Having a parent along would definitely tone things down. This one would help Michigan -- Michigan already encourages a parent to come along, but right now U-M can't pay for the parent's trip.
- cutting the number of visits a kid can take; say, from 5 to 4. This change may be less likely than the other two."
One other thing -- the penalties:
# The first time a school dropped below the standard, it would receive a notification letter. A second violation during the next 10 years would make that school ineligible for postseason bowl play for at least two years.
"Is the penalty stiff enough? Making a school ineligible for postseason bowl play would hit the top schools in the pocketbook ... but reducing scholarships would be a bigger penalty for most schools."