It already has been a busy week in college golf, and the marquee-conference championships haven’t even been played. The action I’ve been following has been taking place in Indianapolis as the NCAA Management Councils for all three Divisions met and, among other things, reviewed legislative proposals that had been forwarded for comment at the NCAA annual meeting in January.
Long story short, a couple of things have happened that will impact college golf. First, the Division I proposal to alter legislation on the number of dates of competition, allowing teams to play nine three-day tournaments as an alternative to the current 24 dates of competition was approved on Monday. The tally was relatively lopsided, 34½ votes in favor of the measure, 12½ votes against it, with two council members absent. This result came despite the number of official comments the council received about the proposal between January and March running 30 to 7 against the measure.
Thus—pending final approval by the NCAA Board of Directors later this month—bylaw 126.96.36.199 will stipulate that in men’s and women’s golf, a member institution shall limit its total playing schedule with outside competition to “nine three-day tournaments (with a maximum of 54 holes per tournament) or 24 dates of competition.”
The “or” is important here, and has been the source of much debate. As we heard at the Golf Coaches' Association of America convention in January, programs that favor the measure (primary schools in warmer climates) believe it provides flexibility because schools can choose which way they’d like to set up their playing season. Programs against the measure (primarily northern schools) say the flexibility will ultimately become a de facto restriction, as many tournaments will move away from the two-day tournament (36 holes on day 1, 18 on day 2). Trying to schedule events against better schools from the SEC or ACC (the two sponsors of the proposal) then becomes difficult as most will be only playing three-day events but weather will require northern schools schedule some two-day events.
Ultimately, I’m in favor of the legislation as I see it easing the burden on many players that the current competition schedule creates. Players will have less travel (they'll be attending fewer tournaments) and shorter days while on the road.
The second item of interest is that the D-I management council voted to eliminate the use of text messaging in recruiting prospective student-athletes. There were stories coming out of various sports that coaches were bombarding high schoolers with text messages daily, including as a means to prod prospects to initiate telephone calls that would have been impermissible if initiated by the coach.
As with the dates of competition measure, the text messaging proposal must receive final approval from the NCAA Board of Directors.
I'll follow with updates when the Board of Directors votes.