NCAA Q&A Addresses Worst Deregulation Fears

The NCAA issued a Q&A document which clarifies the recently adopted deregulation proposals. Two of those questions and answers address some of the worst fears regarding the two proposals with the most opposition: Proposal 11–2 which allows any staff to make recruiting calls and Proposals 13–5-A will deregulates mailings.

Question No. 2: May an institution employ alumni and other individuals who do not live in the locale of the institution to place recruiting calls to prospective student-athletes?

Answer: No. Pursuant to the principles found in NCAA Bylaws
(talent scout) and 13.1.2.8.1 (employment prohibition), an
institution is not permitted to employ an individual for the
purpose of recruiting prospective student-athletes and designate
individual as a staff member if he or she does not reside in the
institution’s general locale.

This prevents schools from essentially having an unlimited supply of recruiters. Tennessee cannot, for instance, have Peyton Manning call recruits. But if a school has a large group of boosters or former athletes living in town, they could still be volunteer recruiting coordinators.

Question No. 4: May an institution provide a prospective student-athlete with media guides, posters, magnets and other similar items (e.g., Fathead wall graphic)?

Answer: Media guides and posters related to or promoting an institution’s athletics program have traditionally been considered printed recruiting materials, and therefore, may be provided to prospective student-athletes; however, Bylaw 13.2.1 prohibits institutions from providing any tangible items to prospective student-athletes that are not printed recruiting materials, such as magnets and wall graphics.

I’m just glad this was put to bed. Fatheads were never going to be allowed, neither were schedule magnets. Posters were even questionable, although with express shipping allowed, the biggest cost will be overnighting poster tubes to hundreds of athletes.

One other Q&A stuck out, and now the opposition to the proposal, however scant, seems justified. The proposal being discussed is Proposal 16–3, which allows schools to provide “academic and other support services” at their discretion:

Question No. 5: May personal development services include athletic development?

Answer: Generally, if an institution is involved in providing development services, including any expenses related to such development, to a student-athlete (e.g., providing related expenses), such activities may only occur during the playing season or as part of out-of-season conditioning or skill
In either case, such activities must be counted toward the applicable limits on countable athletically related activities.

When Proposal 16–3 came out, athletic development services did not seem like a natural part of the proposal. In a way it makes sense though. Professional development services are allowed, and some portion of athletes will be going pro in sports. But exactly what is a permissible athletic development service? Does this mean that the consultants rule is basically obsolete? Can schools hire trainers to prepare their potential draftees for a combine or tryout? And is just using the NCAA’s time limits on practice and conditioning enough?

For football, men’s basketball, and any school that recruits potential Olympians, this could become a major selling point in recruiting. The ability to finance more professional training and development will become a requirement for schools who want a shot at athletes with legitimate professional or Olympic dreams. Not to mention that allowing schools to pay for athletic development could be a handy loophole to funnel money to someone connected to a recruit. This is one instance where the Q&A raises as many questions as it answers.