Football recruiting changes on NCAA's agenda

A series of proposals that would significantly alter the recruiting practices of college football coaches could be approved during the 2013 NCAA Convention, which begins today in Grapevine.

The proposals, which stem from NCAA President Mark Emmert's reform agenda announced in August 2011, are aimed at streamlining the recruiting calendar for all sports and include lifting a ban on text messages from football coaches to recruits that has been in place since 2007. There also would be no limits on private messages or social media contact between the parties, although public messages to recruits would not be allowed on Facebook and Twitter.

The policies, which will be voted on Saturday by the Division I board of directors, have the support of an NCAA rules working group and also would standardize the recruiting calendar by setting July 1 before a prospect's junior year as the first day for off-campus contact, including home visits.

NCAA officials recently adopted similar measures in basketball, but some coaches at last week's American Football Coaches Association convention objected to more relaxed contact rules in their sport, where programs regularly sign 25 athletes per year rather than a handful.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher told that the recruiting time demands for an assistant coach would change dramatically with the proposed rules tweak, possibly leading to burnout as coaches try to keep pace with peers in a world of unregulated texting contacts.

Other proposed recruiting-related changes would permit staffers other than full-time football coaches to contact recruits and would allow all 10 full-time football coaches to recruit on the road simultaneously, rather than forcing three to remain on campus at all times.

Clemson President Jim Barker, chairman of the NCAA working group that authored the proposals, said the goal is to change "the regulatory culture in meaningful ways" in regard to recruiting in all sports.

"Our goal is smarter rules and tougher enforcement," Barker said.

Among the 26 proposals endorsed by the group is establishing a uniform definition of actual and necessary expenses for college athletes and allowing an athlete to receive $300 more than actual and necessary expenses if the funds came from a permissible source.

Another measure would allow a conference, school or governing body similar to the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide actual and necessary expenses for an athlete to receive a non-institutional award, as well as provide expenses for parents, legal guardians or other relatives to attend the event.

In other convention-related activities:

Former NBA standout Shaquille O'Neal, who earned a doctorate in organizational learning and development from Barry University in 2012, will deliver today's keynote speech, stressing the value of his college degrees in his post-NBA life.

Emmert will deliver his state of the association address during the opening business session.

Donna Lopiano, former Texas women's athletic director (1975-92) and former chief executive officer of the Women's Sports Foundation (1992-2007), will receive the Gerald R. Ford Award, given annually to an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics over the course of his or her career.

Tony Dungy, former NFL coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001), will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the NCAA's highest honor that is given annually to an individual "for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being thereafter have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement."

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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