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With three big NCAA recruiting changes likely coming, how might it affect Mike Leach and Washington State recruiting strategy?

IF THE SWEEPING new changes proposed in recruiting come to pass in April and June, and odds are they will, how will it all affect Washington State? For starters, how might Wazzu’s camp strategy change?

The NCAA votes in April, and the Collegiate Commissioners Association meets in June, on three major rules proposals in recruiting:
1. Summer camps conducted/participated in limited to 10 non-consecutive days and on member campuses.
2. Early official visits in April, May and June.
3. Early signing period in December.

The proposed summer camp rule change will affect WSU, but not because the number of days would be lowered from 30 to 10.  Last year, Mike Leach and his coaches worked a total of nine June camps: its own and eight satellite camps. The new rule means those satellite camps would go away.  If passed, the rule wouldn’t take effect until Aug. 1.  So this June would still be business as usual for WSU for one final year, right?  Well, maybe.

As ESPN.com’s Jeremy Crabtree noted in an article today, so-called June mega camps are likely coming and as soon as this year.  Schools are in the planning phase for the mega camps and “the new rules could even allow for an entire conference to team up for a one-day camp on a college campus.” 

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in the past has indicated the Pac-12 would support a move nationally towards regional combines, so it’s a distinct possibility something like a Pac-12 mega camp could happen.

CF.C asked Cougar football chief of staff and recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick on Friday if Wazzu could partake in such a camp as soon as this June.

“Our staff is off next week but we will meet (after they return) as a staff to discuss/finalize our camp plans,” said Emerick.

Arizona general manager/director of player personnel Matt Dudek told ESPN.com the Wildcats will go the mega camp route.

"We haven't finalized our plans, but we are going to pair up with other schools. We have a few other plans, too. We're going to have to think outside the box. Everyone is,” said Dudek.

The general thinking in the ESPN.com article: mega camps will benefit schools in large metro areas and hurt a school like WSU.  We’re not entirely convinced of that.  While the camps held on WSU’s campus always yield a few nuggets,  the Cougs going to where the recruits are often yields the most value.

Now, one way it would definitely hurt Wazzu: if Wazzu wasn’t invited to a so-called mega camp -- if instead it featured, say, all of the California Pac-12 schools and no one else. But that would be at odds with what Scott has said in the past.

“I think our conference tends to be a little more collegial than some others,” Scott said in 2015. “We’ve been very comfortable with the idea that coaches can do satellite camps in other markets, as long as their primary camp is in their market.”

WHAT ABOUT the early visits and early signing period? 

If the rule is passed that recruits can take official visits in April, May and June, the prevailing train of thought is that it will help schools like WSU. Why? One word: weather. 

Imagine recruits from California and other warm-weather locales experiencing the charms and scenery of the Palouse in April-June.  Now compare that to those recruits instead experiencing the dead of winter in December/January on their official trips.  Further, compare spring/early summer at WSU to other parts of the country that can often experience blistering temps and/or high humidity during those same months.

Would an early signing period benefit WSU?  Depends on who you ask.  Some believe it will allow the rich to get richer, that the recruiting powerhouses will be able to lock up their recruits earlier and get a jump on the next class. 

The flip side is schools like WSU may be able to sign a (somewhat) hidden gem more easily.  The schools that do the better job in evaluation will also benefit long term, and from our chair WSU has staff members who are excellent in that regard. There will always be late flips but an additional, early signing period would in theory lessen the chaos -- a December signing period wouldn't see as many schools tossing out the late offers after losing out on the recruits they had rated higher on their boards.

The three rule changes still have to be approved. And the full ramifications aren’t knowable until it plays out.  But one thing is clear: recruiting is changing, and schools are going to have to adjust.  For the ESPN.com article click here.

RELATED: The battle for satellite camps, as it looked one year ago


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