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Volume 24 No. 158


The NCAA Div. I BOD voted Saturday “in favor of deregulation that will affect a wide swath of the rulebook for all sports, including getting rid of a ban on text messages from coaches to recruits,” according to Jon Fogg of the Baltimore SUN. Twenty-five of 26 proposals recommended last month by the NCAA Rules Working Group were “approved and will go into effect Aug. 1.” The board “delayed action on one of the most controversial -- a uniform start date for recruiting.” Other areas deregulated by Saturday's vote “include personnel, amateurism, recruiting, eligibility, awards, benefits and expenses.” In addition to “eliminating restrictions on text messages to recruits, regulations on printed recruiting materials were also scrapped.” The vote does “increase regulations in some areas; for example, schools will be able to pay for medical expenses but in most cases will no longer be able to scout opponents in person” (Baltimore SUN, 1/20). USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken wrote for the average fan, the rules changes “will barely be noticed.” But for the NCAA enforcement office and coaching staffs “in every major sport, the streamlining of the rule book” will be “a welcome relief.” Several of the changes are “small and fairly obvious.” But there also are “some significant ways in which recruiting has now been deregulated, ways that could favor the bigger schools with bigger budgets.” Coaches can now make an “unlimited number of contacts with recruits via text messages or social media.” Schools now have the “ability to hire a recruiting coordinator who isn't a head coach or full-time assistant coach, which is a particularly big deal for football.”

TURNING THE PAGE: NCAA President Mark Emmert, for “all the criticism he has endured, seems committed to reforming the organization into a more nimble beast that can serve the interests of a diverse group of schools while maintaining the bedrock principles of amateur athletics.” The NCAA overall “took about 25 pages out of its rulebook Saturday, and that's important.” But that is “only a start.” Emmert will “spend the next year pushing more and even bigger reforms, some of which may get blowback” (, 1/19). USA TODAY's Wolken writes the rule changes "marked a significant milestone in Emmert's tenure." Given the "relative cooperation" Emmert received in "pushing this reform package through the various committees and processes, there is perhaps a blueprint for how he can reshape the NCAA into the more efficient, tougher, common-sense organization he talked about when he took office." Wolken: "The truth is, Emmert has gotten more done than many of his predecessors" (USA TODAY, 1/21).