Update: On Friday the NCAA passed all the proposals discussed in this story except for the early signing period, which it will consider at its June meetings.
BOCA RATON – As far as the current rules changes being considered during this week’s NCAA meetings in Indianapolis, Lane Kiffin is in wait-and-see mode.
“I really don’t get into it until stuff’s done,” Kiffin said. “Everyone wants to spend all this time, what would we do if this happens? Well, tell me when it happens and we’ll figure it out.”
The NCAA is expected to address several key proposals, most having to do with recruiting, in the coming days. They include:
- A restriction on the ability to offer a scholarship to a player who recently had one of his high school coaches hired by the same college to a non-coaching position.
- A restriction on a college’s ability to hire high school coaches to work summer football camps.
- A reduction in the time available for colleges to hold camps for high school football prospects and forcing those camps to be held on a college campus.
- Eliminating the practice of “over signing” by limiting schools to no more 25 signings in a recruiting period.
- Allowing recruits to take official visits earlier in the process.
- Expanding the current summer “Dead Period” to include all of August.
- The addition of a 10th on-field assistant coach.
- Another high profile change – the addition of an early signing period in football, likely in December – isn’t expected to get a vote until June.
- Nearly all NCAA coaching staffs favor the addition of a 10th assistant.
Kiffin figures most places that don’t have a dedicated special teams coach (Corey Batoon coaches special teams and safeties at FAU) would hire one, but that decision wouldn’t be a slam dunk for the Owls.
“Our [defensive] coordinator coaches linebackers so it could be a linebackers coach,” Kiffin said.
As for the hiring/scholarship restriction on coaches and players from the same high school, Kiffin mimicked the stance taken by his previous boss, Alabama coach Nick Saban, who said:
“We say we don’t want third parties dealing with players, so we’re not going to let the high school coach bring a guy to camp but some third-party guy can bring him to camp now,” Saban said. “It makes no sense at all. But all the people who have common sense they won’t say anything about it.”
Those rules changes are aimed at curtailing the influence of Individuals Associated With Prospects, who often act as unofficial agents for prospects.
There is a concern among some coaches, including Saban, that this proposal would further remove high school football coaches from the recruiting process while encouraging outsiders to assert their influence.
“I saw Saban’s rant on that,” Kiffin said. “I kind of agree. You going to say you can’t have these guys come to camp, work these camps, have guys at your school, but then they want to get rid of handlers that bring guys to camp, but you can hire them but not coaches? Don’t know that you are really solving a lot of problems with that rule. Maybe you create more problems.”
Kiffin joked that his stance on the proposed early signing period depended on which school he was coaching.
“It’s a classic, bigger Top 10 schools you don’t really want it,” Kiffin said. “Smaller schools, you want it or schools from the north are always fighting for it because of the weather on official visits in December or January. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
FAU hasn’t definitively scheduled any camps yet, but they were considering attending two unnamed satellite camps, holding a 7-on-7 tournament along with one team camp.
The Owls held satellite football camps in Tallahassee in both of former coach Charlie Partridge’s final two years. Those camps proved instrumental in landing wide receiver John Mitchell and offensive lineman Brandon Walton.
As for the signing limitations, FAU announced the signing of 24 players in February. Offensive lineman Romello Martin has since signed with FAU, though the Owls have yet to announce it.
The current proposal is expected to be voted upon in the coming days.