A report from Chris Low at ESPN Friday afternoon details a new NCAA rule concerning off-season recruiting this time taking aim at Auburn’s “Tiger Prowl” where coaches roll to prospective high schools in everything from stretch limos to decorated tour buses.
At the heart of the new rule is a ban on more than two coaches from one school visiting a recruiting during the evaluation period at once. The draft of the proposal that was approved by the NCAA Legislative Council on April 13 before it became final Thursday specifically mentioned the use of limos and “extravagant buses” in recruiting trips.
Proponents say it was necessary due to institutions “unnecessarily expending resources in order to have multiple assistant coaches attend these evaluations as a result of the perceived recruiting benefit.”
When Auburn’s recruiting class was ranked a consensus top 5 by the major recruiting services, they all pointed to the “Prowl” as being one of the big reasons why.
When Alabama rolled up two straight number one recruiting classes, it was attributed to the “aggressive” recruiting tactics of Nick Saban and his staff.
There is no “perceived” advantage – there is just an advantage. Period.
Low reports Auburn coach Gene Chizik stating that the bus used with “Tiger Prowl” this spring was only for booster club events. However, the Auburn coaches have toured the state and other areas in limousines.
Uh huh. Sure.
Look this is very simple. The SEC is the leader in college football. Hands down. The conference didn’t get there sitting at home in April waiting for two-a-days to start in August. Coaches like Saban, Les Miles, Mark Richt, Bobby Petrino, and most recently Chizik put the “extra-” in extraordinary recruiting practices that separate their schools from the rest of the country in terms of the caliber of talent coming through the doors. And the pressure to succeed is greater than ever (Go ask Urban Meyer about the stress).
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. In a conference as naturally competitive as the SEC, any chance to get ahead of the competition is going to be taken advantage of unless the coach is a complete moron of the school doesn’t care about athletics (yes, Vanderbilt, we thank you for your grades).
Let’s also be very clear about this – what Auburn did is nothing other schools couldn’t do. They just choose not to. Fine. That’s your call. However, to hide behind the guise that this is a matter of protecting monetary resources of its members is disingenuous. The NCAA wants the other conference to think they care enough about this to crack down on it with an iron fist, but in reality, this is more paper being pushed across a desk.
Does the NCAA rule make sense? I guess, but it won’t change anything. The only way to make a real difference and real change is for the NCAA to re-examine the recruiting deadlines and it’s own roll as the clearinghouse. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the NCAA to turn the microscopes inward. Much like previous recruiting rules, there will be ways around it and rest assured the SEC coaches will find those ways.