NCAA proposes delaying scholarships

INDIANAPOLIS -- Prep players may have to wait a little longer to start accepting scholarship offers.

An NCAA committee announced Thursday that it will back a proposal to prohibit making scholarships offers to recruits before July 1 in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school. If passed, it would apply to all sports.

Coaches also would have to receive high school transcripts documenting at least five semesters or seven quarters worth of academic work for a young recruit before they can offer a scholarship.

It is the first recommendation to come out of the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, which is reviewing recruiting conduct. Committee chair Petrina Long acknowledged it would be a difficult rule for school compliance officers to monitor.

But Long, senior associate athletic director at UCLA, said the committee was compelled to propose a change after recruits and their families said they had felt pressured to make decisions before knowing enough about the school's academic programs. Coaches also told the cabinet they were under increased pressure to "keep up" by making offers to younger and younger players or lose out on top recruits.

The issue has drawn headlines when some men's basketball coaches started making offers to middle school players.

The recruiting cabinet also wants to give coaches more flexibility in calling recruits, their parents or legal guardians. If approved, coaches could contact recruits and their families once a month from June 15 of their sophomore year through July 31 of their junior year in high school.

Starting on Aug. 1 of the senior year, coaches could call a recruit twice a week. Coaches would also be allowed to make one call per week to junior college transfers or transfers from other four-year schools.

The rule is already being used in men's basketball and would be expanded to include all sports except football.

The Legislative Council will not vote on any of the proposals before January and it could delay a vote until April 2011.