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Big Ten Statement Rings Hollow

The Big Ten released this statement about three of the rule changes adopted by the NCAA at the recent convention as part of the Rules Working Group’s deregulation package. The Big Ten asks that RWG Proposals 11-2 (expanding who can recruit), 13-3 (unlimited contact), and 13-5-A (unregulated recruiting materials) be tabled, along with the currently on-hold 13-2 (contact with juniors). There are two little problems with the Big Ten’s rationale though:

  1. The Big Ten should not be politely asking that the three adopted proposals be tabled. They should be submitting override requests to force the Board of Directors to reconsider and/or force an override vote. To date, Proposals 11-2 and 13-3 have each received one override request, while 13-5-A has received two. So the conference is not ready to formally put its overrides where its mouth is.
  2. The Leadership Council endorsed all 25 rule changes that were adopted including the three the Big Ten now wants to put the breaks on. The subcommittee studying recruiting issues expressed no opinion on contact regulations, instead focusing on 7-on-7, the recruiting calendar, and summer practice. This was after consulting with Division I football coaches and the executive director of the AFCA.

This is really the straw that broke the camel’s back regarding Big Ten claims of moral superiority. The Big Ten has no problem passing rules. It has a conference rule book that rivals the NCAA Division I Manual. But the Big Ten schools are saying they cannot or should not be required to develop either their own rules or their own reasonable model of recruiting. In effect, this statement asks the NCAA to protect the Big Ten schools from the bad influence that is the SEC.

If this is a critical student-athlete welfare issue, the Big Ten should have already submitted override requests and should have objected to the exact same set of rules in men’s basketball which were passed to widespread acclaim last year. If this is a football recruiting issue, then let it go into effect for everyone and ask the Leadership Council subcommittee to review how it fits into a football recruiting model and suggest possible changes.

Either way, releasing a statement that makes the Big Ten seem like a powerless defender of student-athletes is silly at best, deceptive at worst. Either use the tools the NCAA has to oppose this or prepare for the changes.

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