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GCAA, WGCA submit proposed recruiting calendar

By Ryan Herrington

Tell me if you've heard this one:

The NCAA, in a noble yet somewhat hurried attempt to look out for the best interests of prospective student-athletes as well as college coaches, has asked coaches associations for various sports to submit proposals regarding the possible implementation of a recruiting calendar.

Indeed, if this sounds familiar, it is. Back in 2010, the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Personnel Cabinet made just such a request of the Golf Coaches Association of America and what was then called the National Golf Coaches Association (since renamed the Women's Golf Coaches Association). Both groups submitted proposals, expecting to hear responses shortly thereafter, only to have them never hear another word about them as the Cabinet implemented no changes whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2013.

Recently, the GCAA and WGCA each received another request, this time from an NCAA Rules Working Group looking at reforms to recruiting, asking them to submit proposals by March 18. Reconvening the ad hoc recruiting committee it created to explore ideas in 2010, the GCAA's National Advisory Board discussed various options via conference call earlier this month before deciding to forward essentially the same plan that it agreed to 26 months ago. Likewise, the WGCA went ahead and sent its 2010 plan as well.

The plans' specifics include:

* limiting coaches at any school to being on the road recruiting a total of 50 days each year, to be used at coaches' discretion.

* mandating a dead period around the week of the fall and spring signing periods where coaches could not travel for recruiting or meet with prospective student athletes who come to campus. A similar dead period would also be in place during the duration of the coaches' associations' annual convention.

* establishing a quiet period from Thanksgiving until Dec. 31 in which coaches could leave campus to recruit for a maximum of six days. (The 2010 GCAA plan started the quiet period the day after Thanksgiving.)

In making the initial request of the GCAA to submit something by March 18, the NCAA forwarded a proposed calendar for men's golf (with a target date of 2014-15) that included few if any restrictions to the model currently in place, which allow for an unlimited number of days spent away from campus recruiting and no specific dead or quiet periods around NCAA Championships, signing periods or holidays, something that is in place in various other college sports.

Rather than agree to essentially the status quo, however, the decision was made instead to resubmit essentially the 2010 proposal. "We spent all that time in 2010 to get to this [proposal]," said one source privy to the GCAA's decision-making process. "Why did we do that if we didn't believe it's right?"

"Can I say it's absolutely perfect? Probably not," said GCAA president Todd Satterfield, the men's coach at Furman, of the 2010 and now current proposal. "But I think it's better than no restriction and what we have right now in terms of being able to manage time better for coaches and have a better quality of [life]. … In the end we tried to give [the NCAA] something that we thought worked for our sport."

WGCA executive director Roger Yaffe said that his board also came to the same conclusion that the work in 2010 was still valid in 2013 and thus submitting the previous proposal made the most sense.

Now the GCAA and WGCA are in the same situation they were in after submitting this same proposal in 2010—left waiting to see what, if anything, the NCAA does with the recommendation. The possibility of the NCAA doing nothing, sadly, seems as likely as it being enacted given the NCAA's recent struggles to enact overall recruiting deregulations within the last six months.

At the NCAA Convention in January, a handful of bylaw changes were approved for all sports that would allow, among other things, coaches to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages to prospective student athletes. However, the NCAA has subsequently suspended  bylaw changes that affected the number of staff that could be involved in recruiting and printed materials that can be sent to recruits after various coaches associations and conferences voiced opposition to them after they had been adopted.
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