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July 20, 2011HOOVER, Ala. - SEC Commissioner Mike Slive called for "modernizing" recruiting rules Wednesday afternoon in his annual state of the SEC address to kickoff SEC Media Days.
"It's time to push the reset button on the regulatory approach to recruiting in order to move away from the idea that recruiting rules are designed to create a level playing field," Slive said. "There are significant differences between institutions and resources, climate, tradition, history, stadiums, and fan interest, among many other things that make the idea of a level playing field an illusion."
Good for Slive.
In fact, endorsements of Slive's stance were found in many places ,including former Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton who tweeted:
Thought Commissioner Slive did a nice job of articulating some issues in college athletics that must be addressed.
Two of Slive's modernization ideas have little to no chance of ever passing nationally. Getting everyone to agree to raising the requirement for freshman eligibility from a 2.0 core GPA to 2.5 is not likely and getting schools nationally to pass the financial aid for "cost of attendance" is not going to happen. After all, nearly half the SEC coaches declined to sign Steve Spurrier's proposal at the SEC Spring Meetings to give players more aid, so no way the NCAA member institutions are going to unanimously agree to spend more money on their players.
Now, two of Slive's modernization ideas are no-brainers and should have never been created. Wednesday Slive called for the abolishment of the bump-rule. A change that's about 9 months too late for former Vols basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
The fact is that Pearl should have known better than to violate a rule in that setting and under the clouds which his program lurked at that time last fall, but the reality is that the "bump rule" was never an enforceable policy.
How else can you explain coaches in the spring sitting in cafeterias in high schools eating lunch with four- and five-star prospects and schools not turning each other in? So hats off to Slive for recognizing one of the most discussed and ridiculous rules in the multi-million dollar world that is recruiting.
"Rather than continuing a recruiting calendar with differing rules for off-campus recruiting activity, contact days, evaluation days, let's simply establish days in which it's permissible for coaches to engage in off-campus recruiting," Slive said. "If a coach is permitted to travel off campus to recruit, he or she should be allowed to evaluate and have a conversation with the prospect on the same day. Maybe we can make the so-called 'bump' history."
Slive's other proposal is to bring Facebook messaging and private Twitter messaging into the rules of communication.
"Permit the effective use of personal electronic communication between prospects and institutional staff members to include phone calls, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and other social media avenues, as well as other communication means yet to be developed," Slive said.
In the world of smart phones and alternative means of communication, prospects and coaches are talking to each other now more than ever before. And it's not stopping.
So hats off to the Commissioner Slive for realizing that a level playing field is not attainable and for realizing that the best way to enforce those schools playing in the gray area is to eliminate the gray area which can't be enforced.
The challenge now is to get those that originally created the un-enforceable regulations to agree with him.