AFCA defines its stance on 10th assistant, recruiting changes and more

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 11, 2017


AFCA executive director Todd Berry

The AFCA has announced several statements, endorsements and other reactions on behalf of coaches to NCAA policy proposals.

The theme of this year’s convention was creating a unified voice of coaches to react to NCAA proposals on several issues from October, including staffing, recruiting and more. It’s important to note the AFCA’s stances are not a vote. The NCAA Division I Council will vote on the issues in April, when they could become effective at the time, but the coaches want more say and influence on the final decisions. The oversight committee also meets next week.

After a Wednesday meeting that included more than 100 FBS head coaches, AFCA executive director and former UL-Monroe head coach Todd Berry announced these statements on behalf of the group:

- The AFCA supports one early signing period for now, beginning with the third Wednesday in December. Nobody CoachingSearch spoke to at the convention favored June signing, and Berry said the same. Recruiting proposals must also go through the Collegiate Commissioners Association.

- The organization supports limiting summer camps to the first 3 weeks of June and last week of July. Coaches will have 10 individual days for camps, which must be held on campus or in partnership with another four-year school, per USA Today. The NCAA proposal also states graduate assistants can work at other school’s camps, and coaches can hold recruiting conversations with prospects at their camp.

- The group agrees that “Individual Associated With a Prospect” needs to be defined. The NCAA committee has proposed a two-year period between a recruit’s planned enrollment and the hiring of any IAWP in a non-coaching position. This would not apply if it’s a full-time coaching position. This is currently the basketball rule.

- Lastly, there is unanimous support for a 10th full-time assistant coach, as early as April. Most coaches I spoke with believe the new spot would first be filled by a current staffer or coaches currently out of work, rather than widespread poaching by big schools.

As a reminder, these issues will be voted upon by the Division I Council in April. The board of directors could later issue a change, such as last year, when the council banned satellite camps, but it was overturned a few weeks later by the board of directors. I’ve had a lot of GA’s ask me when the 10th assistant coach would happen. If it does, it won’t be until April.

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The AFCA also made more statements and proposals unrelated to the current NCAA proposals. These recommendations will go to the Football Oversight Committee next week. Among the ideas:

- The AFCA proposes a new eligibility model, where any player who plays less than 4 games in a season can redshirt. They would still have five years to play four. Under current rules, any playing time burns a redshirt, unless they receive a medical redshirt and they played in less than 30 percent of a team’s games or three games, whichever is greater.

- The AFCA proposes a review at the FBS level of the number of players allowed at preseason practice. It’s currently 85 scholarship players and 20 walk-ons. Coaches would like more.

- The organization favors the targeting rule, but is concerned about the consistency of the officiating of it.

- The coaches are against summer walk-throughs and summer skill enhancements. Recent rules allowed for coaching contact for weight-lifting and film over an 8-week period, but nothing with a football.

- The group issued a condemnation of Friday night college games, saying it hurts high school football.

- The group says it needs to work with the NCAA model and television partners about game length at the FBS and FCS level. Lower levels don’t have issues with game length.

- The coaches are also against technology on the sideline, except for communication with the quarterback, like in the NFL. There have been NCAA proposals to allow coaching technology in the locker room and the coaches box, but that has been pushed back. Sideline technology is currently allowed in high school ball, and there are tablets in the NFL.

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There’s a lot to digest here, and more will happen next week with the Football Oversight Committee. Hopefully, this makes it a bit easier to understand for the time being.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.