Regulate This

The Big Ten today issued a statement regarding the NCAA’s decision to scale back when it comes to regulations which govern recruiting.

There are legitimate concerns that eliminating restrictions on recruiting will force schools to pour even more money into their recruiting budgets. This could further divide the haves and the have-nots in college football. It could also funnel some funds away from current student-athletes at a time when the NCAA is already being accused of not investing enough in them.

“Could you imagine what’s going to be rolling into kids’ driveways, the Fatheads and magnets? It’s nonsense,” Ohio State’s Urban Meyer told reporters on Signing Day.

And Meyer is a perfect spokesperson on this issue. After all, Meyer is a workaholic who has already pushed himself to the point where it jeopardized his health and put a strain on his family. He’s the first man you might think about when it comes to wondering what happens to coaches who no longer have the down time of what used to be a quiet period or dead period.

“Bad stuff,” Meyer said. “I keep hearing deregulation. I’m not a big fan of deregulation. I’m a big fan of firm, harsh penalties for people who break rules.”

Meanwhile, Ohio State recruits, though not addressing the question of deregulation directly, did seem to indicate this move would be bad for high school players, too.

Consider what Trey Johnson said he felt upon faxing his letter of intent to the Buckeyes. Not joy, not elation. “It was kind of a big relief,” he told 97.1 The Fan. “It was a good day, because all the schools that have been coming after me, you know I kind of had my mind set, but the schools were still pursuing. Now that I’ve signed they can’t really come after me anymore.”

At the moment he was finally seeing his hard work pay off, Johnson was simply celebrating the end of a process that had become overwhelming. And next year, a player of Johnson’s caliber could be receiving even more attention, more text messages, more mailings.

That’s impossible for Buckeye recruit Billy Price to even imagine. “My mailbox was absolutely full from the first day that they are able to send stuff, both my mailbox and my school mailbox.”

Pointing out that recruits are also fielding phone calls from deadline-driven reporters and fending off zealous fans, Price admitted it can all become a bit of a blur. “It’s very, very annoying and bothersome…and that’s when you need to step back and you need to have good people around you.”

The NCAA could have brought clarity to their rulebook, instead they erased a series of rules.

Meyer was right to point out that the people who did this must never have been involved in the process, either as a recruit or recruiter.

(Toledo might be an unofficial annex of Michigan, but the Toledo Blade has an awfully good Buckeye beat writer, and Dave Briggs’ article on this topic is a good read.)


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