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Recruiting rule will be reviewed in May

The controversial new recruiting rule deregulating communication between coaches and high school prospects has been tabled until May.

The collegiate governing body received the necessary 75 override votes from Division I membership on the rule by the Wednesday deadline, mandating a review by the Division I board of directors at its May 2 meeting.

The rule, or proposal 13-3, would eliminate restrictions on private electronic communication, including phone calls and text messages, from college coaches to recruits.

So a recruit could get 100-plus text messages to go with the 100-plus letters college coaches send him in the mail!

The new proposal was met with a lot of criticism after it was approved in January at the NCAA convention. Some of that criticism came from around these parts, with a few SEC coaches being very outspoken about the new proposal.

Here's what Alabama coach Nick Saban said this month about the unlimited communication:

"I’m kind of happy with the system we have now.

"I mean, I don’t even know how young people can go to school if people were able to text them all the time, especially if he’s a junior. I feel like relationship-building is important, and I think we need to have enough communication so people can come and visit us, and when we go sit down with them for an evaluation or an actual recruiting visit that we can communicate properly, but I don’t think we need to do much beyond that."

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he also wasn't a fan of the new rule:

“The one with the unlimited phone calls and text messages, I think that’s a bad rule. I don’t think high school players need all these coaches calling them all day and night on an unlimited basis. I think there ought to be a limit. I think it’s bad for the high school player.

“I think, at some point, let’s give them a chance to enjoy their senior year of high school the best they can, so they can help their team have as successful of a season as possible. There’s plenty of time for recruiting calls and visits with the way we’ve being doing it. I think that part of (legislation) was a bad idea, and I don’t know too much about the rest of them.”

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said during his pre-spring news conference that he's also against the new rule:

“I’m not for it. I’m totally against being unlimited in the number of people who can call. I don’t think that’s right for the high school student-athlete. I think it’s almost out of control now. Just imagine the chaotic life that that high school kid is going to have if we can now have everybody off the field trying to get in touch with him also. I’m not in favor of that. I’m totally in favor of us being able to text kids. That’s the way of the world right now. I still think there should be some restrictions on it. My counterparts in our league felt the same way. We’d like to see that slow down. We’re pretty crazy right now in the amount of time we try to spend getting them on the phone and contacting them. It puts the burden on the high school kid more. I kind of like the idea that somebody has thrown out about the four week dead period. I think that makes sense for families and things that are important to us outside of football. Recruiting is what I believe in strongly. If they let us do that, I’m going to try to get as many staff people as I can. We’re not as fortunate as some to be able to staff as much. Staff chemistry to me is huge. To me it could mess with your chemistry also. We’ll try to add a few if that happens."

As for Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, he told the AJC that he supports the new rule:

“To me, the communication part is a great deal. The reason I view it that way is because you look at your players. My players contact me more through text messages than they call. I guess, with 17 year-old kids, that’s how they are communicating, through text messages.

“(With recruits now), I’ve got to log into my Facebook account, and communicate through a Facebook message or a direct message on Twitter. I don’t consider myself to be tech savvy … I’m probably more advanced than some, and not as advanced as others, I’d be right in the middle there … but it seems like it would be a lot easier just to text somebody rather than go through my Facebook or Twitter account to do things. That part of the new rules, the communication, that makes sense to me.

“I don’t know if it will change an awful lot with how you’re currently recruiting but it makes it a little easier to communicate and prevents you from messing up.”