Addition of 10th full-time assistant coach is one step closer to happening

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 18, 2017


FBS football is one step closer to adding a 10th full-time assistant coach, and it appears likely to happen.

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council supported the proposal to add a 10th assistant. It will be voted on by the Council in mid-April with a simple majority needed, and the Board of Directors meets to formalize proposals two weeks after that.

USA Today reports the Board of Directors is expected to adopt the proposals.

Last week, the AFCA expressed unanimous support for the 10th assistant coach. FCS already has a 10th assistant.

While this proposal might create some problems off of its implementation, the coaches want to move forward with this proposal very quickly,” AFCA executive director Todd Berry said in a release. “What makes this legislation important is that football has the lowest coach to student ratio of any NCAA sport, so this would be very beneficial to the football student-athlete.”

Most coaches I spoke with at the AFCA Convention 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. That means more full-time opportunities for graduate assistants or quality control coaches.

Down the road, it would help the schools with more money to spend, but it could also help the lower schools that don’t have the money to load up on a support staff or recruiting staff — which are not allowed to work with players on the playing field. But in a time where more people are calling for athletes to get a bigger piece of the revenue pie, this will be another point.

Nick Saban has long been in favor of a 10th assistant and said he would use it as a standalone special teams coordinator.

“No doubt. I’d love it,” Saban said in 2015. “I think it’d be great. I think that having a 10th coach so you could have nine assistants and special teams coach would be a real asset to the players and the staff. Hopefully some day, we’ll be able to do that.”

It could also allow schools to send an assistant on the road recruiting during game weeks when the rest of the staff is preparing for a game. They could treat fall recruiting like spring recruiting.

That will be especially important with the expected passing of a December signing period. Senior year evaluations will need to be made quicker, and the process is going to be sped up. To have an assistant on the road during the season leading up to early signing will be especially valuable. 

It’s possible the proposal could pass the Council and later get pulled back by the Board of Directors, as happened with satellite camps last year.  But all signs right now point to a 10th assistant, and head coaches will be looking at their options. 

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Along with 10th assistant and recruiting changes, other issues addressed by the Board of Directors on Wednesday, per USA Today, included:

- It adopted a recommendation to allow rising seniors to take official visits from April 1 to the Saturday before the last Wednesday in June.

- The proposal regarding Individual Associated With a Prospect moves forward. Under the proposal, IAWP cannot be hired in a non-coaching position two years before or after a recruit’s anticipated enrollment. This would be similar to the basketball rule. 

- No adjustments to the summer camp proposal, which would limit camps to 10 individual days in the first 3 weeks of June and last week of July and kept on NCAA program facilities.

- The council discussed the idea of taking a team away from campus for spring break, but forwarded it to the Student Athlete Advisory Council.

- The council discussed a mandated 14-week playing season beginning in 2020, which would give every team two bye weeks during a season and move up the start of the season into August.

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.