NCAA overhauls recruiting rules

INDIANAPOLIS -- Recruits will find a no-frills-allowed college atmosphere this fall.

The NCAA's Board of Directors approved a package of recruiting
reforms Thursday aimed at limiting the perks for prospects. Schools
are also being required to take greater responsibility in the recruiting process.

"It is true we acted rapidly, but the problems are there, and
they need to be addressed," NCAA President Myles Brand said.

The package was a response to high-profile scandals at Colorado
and the University of Miami. Brand appointed an 18-member
recruiting task force in February, led by NCAA Vice President
David Berst. The proposals adopted Thursday were emergency
legislation and bypassed the usual one-year process.

The new rules prohibit the use of charter flights or private
planes on recruiting trips. Also, only school vehicles or
standard-equipped vehicles will be allowed to transport recruits
and their families.

Schools are allowed to provide recruits with typical meals and
rooms, but not at five-star restaurants and hotels.

For the first time, the NCAA will require that each college
adopt a written recruiting policy. Colleges must file policy drafts
with their conferences before any recruits can visit this year.

College presidents or chancellors must approve finalized
policies and file them with their conferences by Dec. 1.
Independent schools must file documents with the NCAA.

"The visit process starts at the beginning of the school
year," Berst said. "But if you don't have it on file until
November, you can't bring in recruits until November."

The policy must include specific, school-imposed penalties for
violations. The NCAA also could sanction violators if infractions
rise to a level that is "fundamentally contrary" to the school's
stated policy.

Among other issues that must be addressed in the document are:

  • A prohibition of underage drinking, sex, drug use, gambling or
    gaming activities and the use of strippers during campus visits.

  • Statements about curfews, if any, and on- and off-campus entertainment.

  • An explanation of how head coaches will discuss the policy
    with prospects.

    The board also approved a provision that prohibits schools from
    using personal recruiting aids such as names on the backs of
    jerseys and scoreboard presentations during campus visits.

    NCAA officials hope the changes will eliminate some of the
    problems that have led to scandals.

    "There are a couple of issues that must be addressed," Brand
    said. "First, there is a culture of entitlement, a sense that
    there are no holds barred and that anything goes. That has to

    "The second is accountability," he said. "Who is accountable
    for assuring neither drugs, nor sex, nor alcohol will be a part of
    that process?"

    Robert Hemenway, Board of Directors chairman and chancellor at
    Kansas, said the greatest controversy was transportation.

    Some schools that do not have access to major airports were
    worried about the change, but most board members believed a
    standard needed to be established, he said. The policy could be
    taken up again if it appears some schools are at a competitive

    The recruiting task force also proposed cutting the number of
    official recruiting visits athletes are allowed, from five to four,
    and that schools pay for one parent to travel with student-athletes
    on their official visits.

    Those proposals cannot be approved until next year. Hemenway
    said both had proponents but declined to predict whether they would

    "A number of people were very positive about the point with the
    parent, and I think cutting back the number of visits would be a
    good thing," he said.

    Brand called the recruiting reforms a good first step.

    "We'll see how far we've gone, and if we have to go farther
    than that we will," he said.

    The board also approved a measure that penalizes schools for
    failing to meet Division I-A football requirements.

    The first time a school dropped below the standard, it would
    receive a notification letter. A second violation during the next
    10 years would make that school ineligible for postseason bowl play
    for at least two years.