If upheld in its current form, a new NCAA rule will effectively put an end to the practice of schools designating a head-coach-in-waiting.
At its convention in Atlanta last month, the NCAA passed to little fanfare a new bylaw that treats a head-coach-in-waiting like an actual head coach in terms of recruiting contact. A head coach is allowed only a single visit per recruit and cannot leave campus during the the critical spring evaluation period from April 15-May 31. Same now for a head-coach-designate.
There are only two head-coaches in waiting in America: Georgia alum and Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and Ralph Friedgen’s offensive coordinator at Maryland, James Franklin.
Proposed by the Big East last June and approved last month, the rule was supported by the football issues committee was because it felt it gave schools such as Texas a competitive advantage at a time it is trying to curb off-campus recruiting by head coaches. Muschamp and Franklin actually had to adhere to the new restrictions two weeks before national signing day.
Not surprisingly, Texas and Maryland believe they have been “singled out” and placed at a competitive disadvantage as a result. Muschamp is considered one of the Longhorns’ most aggressive and successful recruiters.
“Obviously, since this legislation impacts only two programs in the country, we feel we are being singled out,” Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds said in a prepared statement. “We are exploring our options for legislative relief within the NCAA process, since we believe this places our program at a direct disadvantage. Will [Muschamp] is our head coach-in-waiting but he is also our defensive coordinator, and this legislation restricts his ability to perform his current job duties.”
Maryland is joining Texas in its efforts to have the rule overturned at the NCAA’s next meeting in April in Indianapolis.
At least in the Longhorns’ case, the new rule hasn’t seemed to have much of a negative impact. Texas’ 2010 recruiting class was ranked 2, 3 and 3 by ESPN, Rivals and Scout, respectively. And after holding its annual junior day this past weekend already has 13 commitments for 2011.