We don't have a lot of time right at the moment, but I wanted to point out that there is a new governance committee at the NCAA headquarters called the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet. Here is a link to the NCAA site where you can find some really good information about the new cabinet, its members, and minutes from their previous meeting.
The new cabinet has a proposal on the table to prohibit offering scholarships before July 1st in between a players Junior and Senior high school years. We'll comment more on this specific proposal when we get more time, but until then you can read more about the proposal and reaction from the coaches here:
We have a message for Petrina Long, chair of the cabinet that created this new proposal, regarding her comments below in bold:
Which leads to the second problem. "If someone asks me if I'm going to offer a kid, how do I answer that question?" Donovan said. "What's the right thing to say?"
Technically, the right answer would be "no," since offering a scholarship would be against NCAA rules.
Like some of his colleagues, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is not a fan of the new NCAA proposal regarding early scholarship offers.
But like much of the NCAA rulebook, this proposal seems ripe for a loophole-exposing game of semantics.
"We understand that there are some ways around this," Long said. "But we hope that coaches will be on board with the spirit and ethics of this. We're all adults here, and it's time we start honoring the spirit of these ideas."
Which is great in theory, but in practice, there's a reason the NCAA manual is thicker than the Chinese phone book.
"If there's a kid in this state who from his freshman year said he wants to be here, that [as] he's grown up he's always wanted to be part of this program, what am I supposed to say?" Huggins said. "Am I supposed to tell him, 'Talk to me in two or three years'? That's not going to happen."
No, what will happen is a coach will tell a recruit that, per NCAA rule, he can't officially offer a scholarship until July 1 before the recruit's senior year but -- wink, wink -- you have a scholarship waiting for you.
If you think that coaches aren't going to find a loophole and exploit it then you are not the person we need leading this cabinet. Open your eyes. We implore you not to write proposals that you "hope" everyone as adults will start honoring, but to write proposals and by-laws that spell out the spirit and the ethics and provide for enforcing them and punishing those who do not act in accordance with the spirit and the ethics. Simply hoping that coaches are going to do the right thing is ridiculous and the kids these coaches are hurting deserve better - these kids are in your care. Do the right by them because they don't have anyone else to look out for them.
Again, as we have stated many, many time here, oversigning is not a violation of the NCAA rules, it is an ethical issue and those that exploit the loophole are not conducting themselves within the spirit and ethics of the recruiting by-laws. This is a perfect example as to why you cannot write by-laws and proposals with the assumption that everyone is going to act accordingly, because they are not. And with regards to oversigning, we're not talking about one or two coaches exploiting the spirit and ethics of the by-laws for signing players, we are talking about the entire history of an entire conference, minus Vanderbilt and Georgia. Oversigning has been a systemic problem in the SEC since the creation of the conference, just ask Georgia Tech fans about oversigning.
Need further proof that coaches, heck even conference commissioners, look for ways to exploit loopholes in the NCAA rulebook? Then look no further than how the SEC Championship Game was created.
Schiller remembers sitting around one day with one of his assistants, Mark Womack, now the league's executive associate commissioner. He was looking at the NCAA rule book and the idea was born.
"You know, Mark," Schiller said, "we can have a football championship.'" "What you mean?" Womack responded. "I'm looking at a rule book and it says if you have more than 10 institutions, you can effectively have a championship in any sport," Schiller said.
Somehow, Walter Byers, the dogmatic head of the NCAA, caught wind and immediately called Schiller in Birmingham.
"He said, 'what the heck are you doing?'" Schiller said, remembering the fiery conversation. "That (rule) was not meant for you," Byers told Schiller. "It was meant for hockey, volleyball and soccer (and smaller leagues) where they have 12 or 14 or 16 schools."
"But that's not what the rule books says," fired back Schiller, a former combat pilot in Vietnam who later attained the rank in the Air Force of Brigadier General. Schiller once headed the chemistry department at the Air Force Academy and holds a doctorate in the subject.
Schiller said the conversation deteriorated from there, with Byers "calling me an SOB."
"You're not going to do it," Byers demanded.
Oh yes we are, Schiller responded.
In 1992, the SEC made history by holding its inaugural championship game.
The one good thing that did come out of this proposal, something oversigning.com reader Mario will appreciate, is that recruits will be required to send in 5 semesters or 7 quarters worth of grade transcripts before receiving a scholarship offer. This is a step in the right direction. Here is more on that part of the proposal: