DI Council approves 10th assistant, early signing, IAWP restrictions and more

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday April 14, 2017


College football is about to undergo a massive change, following the approval of a massive rules package by the NCAA Division I Council on Friday. The new decisions will be made official by the Board of Directors later this month. Changes include:

- An early signing period for 72 hours in December (must still be approved by commissioners in June)

- Early official visits from April of a prospect's junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June (effective August 2017)

- The addition of a 10th full-time assistant coach, which will begin on January 9, 2018

- Restrictions on the hiring of individuals associated with a prospect to non-coaching jobs

- Restrictions on satellite camps, but coaches can recruit at teaching camps and clinics

- Limitation of annual scholarships to 25

- Expanded summer dead period from Monday before the last Wednesday in June through July 24, plus the entire month of August (effective Aug. 1)

- Two-a-days banned, following similar moves in D2 and D3

Here’s how the major changes break down:

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The early signing period must still be approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association in June. It was favored by most coaches, though Urban Meyer was one notably against it. Along with this change, official visits can happen earlier than the previous rule, which previously was beginning September of the prospect’s senior year. That will be allowed from April 1 of a junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. The SEC had proposed an amendment to only allow early visits in April. There was concern from coaches about the amount of time they're working in the offseason, but the expanded dead period will help that.

Several Big Ten coaches have called for earlier official visits, which helps when the weather is nicer in the north, but many coaches also worry about their time on the job in summer. 

The move would help prevent late flipping, but it also could hurt late-blooming prospects. David Shaw has noted its often late before a player knows if he academically qualifies for Stanford. But for recruits who want to end the process, this will allow them two earlier than before. There's also the issue of how this will affect coaching changes. We'll have to wait and see how schools react.

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The addition of a 10th full-time assistant coach was supported unanimously among coaches, who cited the coach-to-player ratio relative to other sports. But there was concern from people in the Group of 5 and lower levels who didn’t have the budget room to add it. In February, the MAC submitted an amendment to delay the implementation of the 10th assistant until January 2018. That passed. Interesting, ESPN reports it passed unanimously. 

There are several ways teams could fill the job. CoachingSearch spoke with several coaches who expect it to either be a standalone special teams coordinator, a second offensive line coach, or perhaps allow for a walk-around coordinator.

As for who could fill it, most places planned to promote from within or hire an out-of-work coach if it happened immediately. Since it is delayed, expecte a lot of hiring sitting assistant coaches next winter.

“Having the 10th coach, that’s one more person that can be a positive influence, a positive role model in their lives,” Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder told CoachingSearch. “It’s one more father figure that can affect them on a daily basis. As hard as I try, I can’t get to every one of them every day.”

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The restrictions on hiring individuals associated with a prospect (IWAP) drew mixed opinions from coaches. If a school hires an IAWP (like a high school coach) for an off-field role, it cannot bring in any player associated with that IAWP for two years prior to hiring the IAWP and two years after hiring him/her. That means no more hiring high school coaches as analysts or directors of player personnel if you're going to recruit a player. But you can still hire that coach as a position coach and recruit kids. This is similar to a rule already in basketball.

Gus Malzahn called it a “death sentence” for high school coaches who want to move up. Chad Morris is against it. Nick Saban is furious over what it'll do to camps. But CoachingSearch also spoke with several coaches who are for it, most at the Group of 5 level or lower Power 5, without large support staffs.

“I think it’s a good idea,” new Western Kentucky head coach Mike Sanford told CoachingSearch. “That’s gotten out of control, it really has. If you really want to hire that coach and the value of getting the coach on the staff, then chose the coach over the recruit. If you do truly just want to get a recruit, then abide by that rule."

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The change regarding satellite camps hasn’t drawn much public reaction from coaches. Instead of two 15-day periods in the summer. There will be a 10-day period, where the 10 days don’t have to be consecutive. Camps must be held on facilities owned and operations by NCAA institutions.

That means no more camps at high schools run by third parties. It also could mean more mega-camps, where many schools combine for a big camp.

“Let’s tighten it up,” Sanford told CoachingSearch. “What happened with the satellite camps was really hard for the NCAA to enforce, who was paying, who wasn’t paying. It’s a lot cleaner on a campus, and it’s a better model going forward.”

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Programs across the county were already prepared for these major changes. Now those plans go into action.

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.