In recent years at the Golf Coaches Association of America's annual national convention, the topic of establishing a recruiting calendar that would designate specific times of the year when college coaches could go on the road to watch junior golfers has been floated, only to crash like the proverbial lead balloon. It's not so much that the coaches were against unilaterally setting limits to when they could be on the road searching for their next blue-chip recruit. It's that trying to wrap their arms around on when during the year to allow coaches to hit the road—and more importantly what times of the year to prohibit their travels—proved a far more challenging task than getting their players to work on their short games. With no pressing reason to investigate the matter much further, the coaches ultimately looked the other way and moved on to the next item on the agenda.
Such a luxury, however, no longer appears to be an option.
A memo obtained by Golf World from the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Cabinet dated Oct. 7 and sent to sport-specific groups and coaches' associations in nearly 20 sports, including the GCAA and the National Golf Coaches Association, outlines the NCAA's interest in bringing all college sports "under the same general model of recruiting." To do so, the cabinet requested that each coaches' association submit recommendations by Dec. 3 on "appropriate parameters" for their sport regarding the potential implementation of a recruiting calendar or a specific number of recruiting person/evaluation days.
Currently a handful of sports, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's ice hockey, softball, men's and women's lacrosse and field hockey, have specific recruiting limitations. NCAA officials would like to have similar guidelines in all sports in part for the well being of the coaches and the prospective student-athletes burdened by the current recruiting process, as well as to help athletic departments reduce expenses.
The good news for golf coaches is that the NCAA doesn't appear to be looking to create a one-rule-for-all-sports policy, but is open to looking at variations on an individual sport basis.
Since receiving the memo, GCAA CEO Gregg Grost said that his association's National Advisory Board has been working on develop proposals for the general memberships' review. To speed up their efforts and meet the NCAA deadline, the country has been broken down into three regions, with NAB members canvassing their geographic area to try to find out where coaches' stand.
No specific plans have yet been drafted, but in all likelihood the coaches will be exploring one of three options:
- a calendar approach, where recruiting will be restricted to certain times during the year (i.e. summers or certain holidays)
- a recruiting days approach, where coaches would have a set number of days in the year that they can be on the road recruiting, but can use them at any time
- a hybrid model that would limit the number of days of recruiting as well as have certain "dead periods" in which no coach would be allowed to recruit.
Grost said that the NAB hopes to have information from the three regions back by Nov. 8, with the entire board then discussing the findings and drawing up two or three proposals for all Division I coaches to review starting Nov. 15. The goal is to have a two-thirds majority backing one proposal.
The Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues cabinet, chaired by UCLA senior associate athletic director Petrina Long, will review proposals from all sports at its February 2011 meeting, then likely push them back to the coaches' associations with comments and questions. The coaches' associations would then be expected to respond in the spring so potential legislation can be written that would be voted on in the 2011-12 legislative cycle and be in place for the 2012-13 season.