Coaches in waiting can fully recruit

AUSTIN, Texas -- The NCAA has given Texas and Maryland a one-year reprieve from a new rule that limits off-campus football recruiting by a coach designated as the head coach-in-waiting.

That will allow Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin to fully participate in the critical spring evaluation period in April and May.

The new rule says coaches "publicly designated" to be the next head coach are bound by the same recruiting rules as the current head coach. That would limit them to one off-campus visit with a prospect and it could not be during the spring evaluation period. Other assistants can have multiple off-campus visits.

Texas spokesman Nick Voinis said Tuesday the grace period gives the schools time to seek permanent relief.

Only Texas, which lost to Alabama in the BCS championship game, and Maryland are currently affected by the rule that was proposed in June 2009 and passed in January.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has complained that the rule was unfair because Texas and Muschamp agreed to his coach-in-waiting contract in November 2008. Dodds has said Texas was "singled out" by the rule and put at a "direct disadvantage" in recruiting.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the NCAA determined the rule applied to both schools, but they were given the grace period to consider their options.

Those options could include revising the contracts, asking for a permanent exemption to the rule or seeking to have it changed, Christianson said.

If nothing changes after one year, both schools will be bound by the rule, Christianson said.

The rule change was supported by the NCAA's football issues committee. The rationale was that recruiting by a "head coach in waiting" creates a competitive advantage for a program at a time when the NCAA has moved to curb off-campus recruiting by head coaches.

The change was not supported by the NCAA's recruiting cabinet, which noted that designating an assistant as a future head coach is likely to happen several years before the coach is promoted.