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NCAA cabinet to review recruiting process in its entirety

October 13, 2009

Here's a number for you to think about: 46

No, it's not a bad nine-hole golf score or the number of college golf tournaments wiped out this week because of bad weather. It's the number of proposals seeking adjustment to the NCAA's recruiting rules that will be under review during the 2009-10 school year alone.

With that in mind, the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet has begun a comprehensive review of the overall "recruiting model" in all sports that it will continue over the course of the next year.

A report from the September meeting of the cabinet, which is chaired by UCLA senior associate athletic director Petrina Long, said the intention is to take a "more holistic approach" to the recruiting process to address several issues that have arisen recently, including early recruitment and changes in technology. The report noted that "the examination will be the focus of the cabinet for the upcoming year."

"It's pretty clear that the membership is struggling with a number of macro- and micro-level issues regarding recruiting," Long told The NCAA News. "This kind of effort hasn't been undertaken for quite a while. We thought it was time."

Among the things the Recruiting Cabinet will evaluate are:

The goal of any potential changes the cabinet might ultimately propose is to simplify and deregulate communications, apply rules consistently and maintain competitive equity.

Suffice it to say, any measures that the recruiting cabinet explores may well have a large impact on college golf, where recruiting has changed greatly in the past decade--and in ways many coaches contend are for the worse. Chief among the complaints I hear from golf coaches is how the recruiting process has accelerated, with prospective student-athletes making verbal commitments as early as their sophomore year in high school.

I first became familiar with the good and the bad of recruiting when I followed Casey Wittenberg for a year as he went through the process. I eventually wrote a November 2002 feature story in Golf World about what it's like for a blue-chip college prospect to be recruited. Two summers ago, I also wrote in Golf World about the dramatic ways in which the process had morphed in the years that followed, with many of the top-ranked prospective student athletes now wrapping up their recruitment before coaches can officially contact them on July 1 of their senior year in high school.

Long said that she hopes to engage schools, coaches and the student-athletes themselves on the subject in hopes of having their input shape any potential changes in the recruiting model. If anyone in the college golf community has an issue with where recruiting has gone/is headed, you might want to get Long's e-mail address.