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NCAA council proposes two early signing periods, satellite camp changes, 10th assistant

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Significant change could be coming to major college football, and a couple of Big Ten coaches may not exactly be excited about the direction the sport’s headed.

One proposed change, though, will likely be greeted with open arms.

The Division I Football Oversight Committee is considering proposing legislation that would allow teams to add an additional on-field assistant.  Currently, teams are permitted nine such assistants; the proposal would push that number to 10 across the FBS board.

The committee plans to examine this issue during the upcoming year, and could make a recommendation to the Div. 1 Council next year.

“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” oversight committee chair and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

That’s arguably one of the smartest decisions the NCAA has made in years, doing something that actually can benefit players and not just programs.  Now, though, the twin issues that will make the most noise and have arguably the biggest impact in the coming months — and years.

First and foremost, the Council is proposing two, 72-hour early signing periods, one that would begin the last Wednesday in June and the other in mid-December during the initial time junior college players can sign National Letters of Intent. Currently, the only signing period for high school football prospects begins the first Wednesday in February, otherwise known as National Signing Day.

The Council will ask the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association to approve the measures, which would then go into effect for the 2017-18 signing year if okayed.

Urban Meyer‘s been one of the most vocal critics of any type of early signing period. While a June signing period would help the recruit focus on and enjoy his senior season of high school, it would also, for example, tie him down to a school that will make a coaching change just a few months down the road. Critics such as Meyer argue that “[y]ou’re going to see more transfers and more mistakes made in recruiting than ever” if early signing periods are implemented.

Bowlsby, though, feels the committee “hit a sweet spot” with “a proposal [that] is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly.” Left unsaid in the NCAA’s release is if a transfer clause involving coaching changes and the like would be a part of the legislation, although, if it’s as “student-athlete-friendly” as claimed, it already should be.

The biggest fight in the coming months will likely be over the early signing period, but Jim Harbaugh may have some words regarding satellite camp legislation being proposed.

If adopted, the Council’s legislation would reduce from two periods of 15 consecutive days for participating in football camps and clinics — i.e. satellite camps — to a total of no more than 10 days. Those days can be used non-consecutively, with the NCAA noting the proposal would provide “greater flexibility to attend more events and visit with more students at various locations.”

There’s also no specific limitation on the number of camps that can be attended over the course of those 10 days, meaning staffs could go to more than one per day, although again they’re not permitted more than 10 total days of such camps.

While the two-third reduction is certainly significant, it’s not the most significant portion of the proposed legislation:

With a refinement in the purpose of the camps to one focused primarily on recruiting rather than instruction, which traditionally has been done in the scholastic environment, the camps must be owned, operated and conducted by NCAA member schools and occur on the school’s campus or in facilities the school primarily uses for practice or competition. Keeping camps and clinics at known facilities will better protect the health and safety of participating students, members said.

Translation: say goodbye to the Harbaugh-led camps at high schools and junior colleges across the nation.

One positive tweak to the camp is that the proposal “would allow all coaches participating in the camps or clinics to have recruiting conversations with participating prospective student-athletes during the event.” Under the current bylaws, such talk is prohibited even as the camps had swung from being instructional to a recruiting tool in many a coaching staff’s arsenal.

“We needed to limit the number of days (for camps and clinics) and do things differently than we did before,” Bowlsby said. “But the best chance for us to manage this is to acknowledge that the summer is about recruiting, not skill development, and to manage it in ways that reflect best on our universities and the process.”

The Council will vote on the camp legislation next April, and, if approved, it would go into effect immediately.

You’re getting old part 9,374: Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne’s son commits to Boston College

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Today in ‘You’re getting old,’ part 9,374: Ron Dayne’s kid will soon play college football.

While it seems like just yesterday that the ‘Great Dayne’ was running wild at Wisconsin and winning the 1999 Heisman Trophy, the soon-to-be 40-year-old will be back in college football in a different light: as a dad. That’s because his son, Javian Dayne, just committed to Boston College as part of the class of 2018.

The elder Dayne amassed 7,125 yards on the ground over four seasons at Wisconsin, a mark that is more than any other player in college football history but good for second on the NCAA all-time list behind San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey due to the lack of counting bowl stats back in the day. The younger Dayne doesn’t have quite the same size and stats as his dad but wasn’t too shabby at Waunakee (Wis.) High in running for 4,269 yards and 56 touchdowns the past three years.

“I absolutely hated the process,” Javian told the Wisconsin State Journal of his recruitment. “I was one of those people who wanted to get it over with. I didn’t like the process at all. … We did a lot of traveling around.”

The six-foot, 200 pound recruit is listed as a two-star by 247Sports and was recruited heavily by the Eagles since November. He’ll have a tough time becoming the starter with A.J. Dillon coming off a 1,500 yard season as a freshman but could be in the mix with several others to see some carries early on with primary backup Jon Hilliman transferring to Rutgers.

Either way, the first time the cameras find Ron Dayne on the sidelines at a Boston College game watching his son will be yet another reminder that we’re all getting very, very old.

Oregon reportedly poaches Wazzu assistant Jim Mastro as Ducks’ new running backs coach

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Alex Grinch isn’t the only member of Mike Leach’s staff who is ticketed out of Pullman this offseason.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Oregon had poached Washington State assistant Jim Mastro to be the Ducks’ new running backs coach and run game coordinator.

Mastro has been with the Cougars since joining Leach’s initial staff at Wazzu back in 2012 and has quite a bit of experience out west, including 11 seasons at Nevada and a year at UCLA. He replaces Donte Pimpleton, who followed former Oregon coach Willie Taggart to Florida State several weeks ago.

Interestingly, this is the third straight offseason that the Ducks have poached an assistant from their Pac-12 North rivals. Quarterbacks coach David Yost left for Eugene back in 2015 while Taggart hired defensive line coach Joe Salave’a last year. Mastro should have plenty to work with upon arrival with senior Tony Brooks-James and youngster Darrian Felix likely leading the way on the ground.

Kevin Sumlin brings familiar Texas A&M face with him to Arizona’s coaching staff

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Kevin Sumlin is still sorting out his new staff at Arizona but reportedly has his special teams coordinator locked up and it’s a familiar face from his previous stop in College Station.

While Texas A&M’s former special teams coordinator Jeff Banks was hired for the same position at Alabama, Sumlin has hired his No. 2 in Jeremy Springer to be the Wildcats’ new special teams coordinator, a source told Sports Illustrated this week. The trio worked together for three years with the Aggies as Springer assisted Banks in the crucial third phase of the game.

Springer was originally ticketed to join another former Sumlin assistant in David Beaty as a staffer at Kansas but instead will head west to the desert. His most recent formal title was quality control special teams/tight ends assistant at Texas A&M but he’ll be an on-field coach in Tucson.

Springer played linebacker for UTEP and is still pretty fresh-faced in the coaching profession having graduated from the school in 2011.

Tennessee still trying to remove Butch Jones billboard at Neyland Stadium… months after he was fired by the Vols

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It’s been nearly two weeks since the national championship game which means that Jeremy Pruitt has been in Knoxville as the new Tennessee head coach for some time now leading the program. Despite that fact, there’s still a visible reminder every day when he drives into work of the previous regime that was in charge of the Vols.

That’s because there’s a giant 35-by-30-foot picture of former head coach Butch Jones still up on the outside of Neyland Stadium… over two months after he was fired by Tennessee. According to the Times Free Press, the picture could even be up past signing day in February as the rather slow change is made for an item that isn’t as easy for the school to alter as the media guide is.

“That’s not an easy process,” athletic director Phillip Fulmer told Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR. “There’s mechanical things involved to get that done. It’s not just, ‘Let’s take down a picture off the wall or a graphic.’ We’re working through that.

“It is important to us, because it is important to reflect what we’re doing. It’ll be done in due time. I’ve heard the same thing from the chancellor. She wants me to speed it up, too. We will. We’ll get there.”

Funny enough, the giant picture of Jones (flanked by UT legends Reggie White and Robert Neyland) replaced an image of Fulmer from when the team won the BCS title 20 years ago. Something says they might revert back to that look with their now-AD until Pruitt can establish himself with the program over the next few years to prevent a repeat of this fiasco.

As the Times Free Press notes, it took Florida State just a week to scrub Jimbo Fisher‘s likeness from Doak Campbell Stadium but it might be three months before the Vols can do the same with their coaching change. It may not delight the fan base to see Jones some more but this is clearly one area on Rocky Top that is decidedly not moving at SEC-speed at the moment.