NCAA considering proposals to change recruiting

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA released a package of proposals Friday that would change the recruiting calendar, lift restrictions on how and how often coaches can contact recruits, and allow athletes to accept more money for participating in non-scholastic events.

All the proposals are expected to be voted on Jan. 19 at the NCAA’s annual convention near Dallas. If approved, they could take effect Aug. 1.

This is the first detailed glimpse into how the NCAA intends to rewrite its massive rulebook and Jim Barker, chairman of the NCAA rules committee working on the plan, said the goal is “smarter rules and tougher enforcement.”

If the package is approved, the overall result would provide coaches with more leeway in recruiting. The hope is athletes will build more meaningful relationships with their coaches, and they will get more opportunities to showcase their skills in front of college and pro scouts.

Campus leaders are embracing the moves, too.

“We have to keep track of all that now,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said. “If don’t have to do that, it will eliminate a substantial part of it.”

One key recommendation would create a uniform recruiting calendar for all sports and allow coaches to begin contacting potential recruits after July 1 of their sophomore year, though coaches would still have to abide by the no-contact periods.

“The rules group believes that the uniform recruiting date will create significant ease of administration on campus, make the rules more understandable and allow for better recruiting decisions from both the coach and prospective student-athlete,” said Barker, the Clemson president.

Those were the goals NCAA president Mark Emmert outlined more than a year ago when he backed the move to shrink the rulebook following a year of major college scandals that included stripping a national champion of its title, a Heisman Trophy winner giving back his trophy, criminal allegations and the accusation that another Heisman winner’s father was peddling his son’s services.

In the wake of so much turmoil, Emmert held a presidential retreat in August 2011 to acknowledge the governing body needed to focus more on enforcing the rules that go to heart of college sports — fair play, ethical behavior and tough penalties that dissuade coaches from considering cost-benefit analyses when making decisions about playing by the rules.

Some rules, Emmert acknowledged are simply unenforceable or so narrow they consume too much time and effort at the institution level and the NCAA level.

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