Is New NCAA Recruiting Rule a Brown-Out?

A new NCAA rule went into effect last week prohibiting head football coaches, such as Texas' Mack Brown, from making on-site recruiting visits during the current spring evaluation period. Will it have much impact on Brown's program?

In a word: no.

In fact, nothing's changed for Brown.

"We've done it the same way for 10 years," Brown said Monday. "I have not gone out (during spring evaluations) during those 10 years we've been at Texas. The problem I have, and it's the same with some of the other coaches around the country, is being the head coach at The University of Texas, a lot of the kids will come up and talk to you and that puts you in a very difficult spot. It's illegal to talk to the kids in the spring (evaluation period). You could not do anything (legally) but watch them practice. We decided 10 years ago it would be impossible to enforce the rule properly, so we decided not to go. We felt like this was in the best interest of The University of Texas."

The rule was approved at the NCAA football coaches' convention in January and went into effect April 15, the first day of the spring evaluation period. The period extends until the end of May. Assistant collegiate coaches are still permitted to observe spring training on high school campuses.

The rule's intent, in part, is to mitigate the potential -- if not, likelihood -- of inadvertent contact between a head coach and recruits while on-campus. Coaches at smaller colleges welcome the new statute, insisting that the on-site visit of high-profile coaches from football powerhouses typically become a community-wide event and, consequently, an unfair recruiting advantage. (A number of Longhorn recruits have told Inside Texas that their schools have practically shut-down when Brown made on-site visits. Brown is typically besieged with autograph-seekers, but also encounters non-recruited athletes attempting to secure either an offer or an evaluation from Longhorn coaches.)

Texas currently has 17 commitments in its 2009 recruiting class. Brown typically secures three-quarters of his class prior to the spring evaluation period. As such, work during this interim amounts to cherry-picking for the current crop and getting a sneak preview of the class of 2010.

"(The ruling) is probably less of an issue in our state because people come to spring games and they still come down to visit," Brown concluded. "I have an opportunity to visit many of our in-state recruits because they come to us instead of me going to them. You have to trust your assistant coaches. They'll bring the film and the evaluations back. We'll all have to do a better job of organizing it across the country."

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