The assistant coaching carousel is getting set to get a lot busier and a whole lot more hectic.
As expected, the NCAA on Friday approved a slew of reforms in what The Association described as a “new football recruiting model.” The one that’s garnering the most attention will have a significant impact on the recruiting trail as FBS programs will be permitted to add a 10th full-time, on-field assistant coach to their staffs. It as expected that head coaches would be permitted to add that 10th assistant in August; however, the effective date for the additional help will be Jan. 9, 2018.
That date is one day after the College Football Playoff championship game for the 2017 season.
- It changes the recruiting calendar to allow for an early signing period in December (effective Aug. 1). Only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new National Letter of Intent signing periods.
- It adds a period for official visits that begins April 1 of the junior year and ends the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of that year. Official visits can’t occur in conjunction with a prospect’s participation in a school’s camp or clinic (effective Aug. 1).
- It prevents Football Bowl Subdivision schools from hiring people close to a prospective student-athlete for a two-year period before and after the student’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men’s basketball in 2010 (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).
Football Bowl Subdivision schools are limited to signing 25 prospective and current student-athletes to a first-time financial aid agreement or a National Letter of Intent. Exceptions exclude current student-athletes who have been enrolled full-time at the school for at least two years and prospective or current student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury (effective for recruits who sign after Aug. 1, 2017).
- It limits the time for Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to participate in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July and requires that the camps take place on a school’s campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or competition. Staff members with football-specific responsibilities are subject to the same restrictions. The Football Championship Subdivision can conduct and participate in camps during the months of June and July (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).
- It allows coaches employed at a camp or clinic to have recruiting conversations with prospects participating in camps and clinics and requires educational sessions at all camps and clinics detailing initial eligibility standards, gambling rules, agent rules and drug regulations (effective immediately).
“This is a significant move forward for football recruiting,” Big 12 commissioner and Football Oversight Committee chairman Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “The entire package of rule changes is friendly for students, their families and their coaches. We will continue to monitor the recruiting environment to make sure the rules work as intended, and we will suggest adjustments when necessary.”
The NCAA also made sure to note that “[d]ecisions are not final until the close of the Division I Board of Directors meeting April 26.” Additionally, the early signing period in December will not be official until the Conference Commissioners Association signs off on it at a June meeting.
It’s expected the CCA will overwhelmingly approve the measure.
On the non-recruiting front, the NCAA Division I Council also voted to eliminate “multiple contact practices a day” — aka two-a-days — in summer camp. “A single day may include a single, three-hour, on-field practice session and a walk-through,” a separate release stated.
“The Council’s action reinforces our commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes,” said Council chair Jim Phillips, athletic director at Northwestern. “We continue to be guided by the recommendations from medical professionals, coaches and administrators and the strong support for discontinuing two contact practices in the same day.”
The wife of one of the top head coaches in college football dipped her toes into an ongoing national controversy — and not long after attempted to un-dip them.
In reaction to news that Colin Kaepernick, who kick-started the anthem kneeling controversy last season, had filed a grievance claiming that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the league, Shelley Meyer tweeted “What-ever, he made his choices.” The tweet from the personal Twitter account of the wife of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was quickly deleted.
She also tweeted, in response to one of her followers stating that “I would take Tim Tebow over him any day,” “A million times. No comparison.”
The original tweet gained enough traction pre-deletion, however, that Kaepernick’s mother used the same social media website to chide Mrs. Meyer.
Less than 24 hours after the mini social media maelstrom erupted, Mrs. Meyer offered up somewhat of an apology/further explanation for her original tweet.
It appears Arkansas will be without its starting quarterback for a while longer than just one week.
An injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in the Week 6 loss to South Carolina knocked Austin Allen out of the game. After some initial uncertainty in the week leading up to the Week 7 game against top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Allen was indeed ruled out for what turned into a 41-9 loss.
With No. 21 Auburn up next, Bret Bielema all but ruled the senior out of the Week 7 matchup. Additionally, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported that Allen could miss up to three more weeks after being sidelined last weekend.
“If it came to a point later in the week where he could practice Thursday, I think there’s merit to (Allen returning this week),” Bielema said. “Where he’s at right now, I’d say we’re still a couple of weeks away, but Austin is a guy who surprises a lot of people and if he can go and do things, it’s a positive for us.”
Should the three-week timeline come into play, he would miss the AU game as well as contests against Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina before returning for the road trip to LSU Nov. 11.
If Allen is indeed sidelined, Cole Kelley (pictured) would again take his place. Making his first career start, the redshirt freshman completed 23-of-42 passes for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception on the road against the vaunted Crimson Tide.
It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.
That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.
I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.
This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.
It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?
Here’s the full quote.
Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.
And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.
Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.
It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.
Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.
Each side released their own bitter, short statements.
Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.