NCAA modifies rulebook with 25 proposals


The NCAA has been planning to slim/modify its rulebook for the better part of two years. Frankly, it seemed like it was never going to happen.

But on Saturday, the Association adopted a whopping 25 proposals with the intention of shifting its focus to better supporting student-athletes and modifying recruiting rules that are more enforceable.

You can check out the release from the NCAA HERE.

One of the big changes is that athletes will be able to receive “$300 more than actual and necessary expenses, provided the expenses come from an otherwise permissible source.” The debate on paying athletes more than the value of an athletic scholarship has been picking up interest over the past couple of years. The idea of compensating athletes at “market value” is unrealistic, but this is a step in the right direction for anyone who favors extra money for athletes.

Additionally, both student-athletes and recruits will be allowed to receive “actual and necessary expenses for training, coaching, health insurance and the like from a governmental entity.” Athletes and recruits can also receive “actual and necessary expenses” for athletes representing an institution during practices/competition as well as noncompetitive events.

Certain recruiting restrictions have also been eased or lifted altogether. For one, the NCAA will eliminate restrictions on methods and modes of communicating with prospects during the recruiting process. In other words, text messaging, instant messaging, social media messaging — these will all be permissible and unlimited so long as the communication is private.

So, yes, butt dialing is no longer considered an NCAA issue. However, exactly when a coach can begin butt dialing contacting a recruit is still up for vote.

Speaking of coaches, the NCAA lifted restrictions on which staff members contact recruits. This will no longer be limited to a head coach and assistants. The only restriction is that non-coaching staff members cannot recruit off-campus. However, the NCAA did remove the limits on the number of coaches who can recruit off-campus at any one time. That was the so-called “baton rule.”

All 25 proposals go into effect on Aug. 1 of this year.

There’s more to be done and the USA Today has a good look into what lies ahead for the NCAA Rules Working Group. But this is a start. Loosening some of the recruiting restrictions that were simply outdated and more trouble than they were worth was a necessity.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury