Well, that didn’t last long.
The NCAA on Thursday passed legislation to curtail the dog-and-pony show that has become the spring evaluation period. So Auburn must park its Hummer limousine and Georgia coaches will have to go back to evaluating prospects one or two at a time.
The NCAA Division I board of directors approved an amendment to Bylaw 13.5.1 that limits to two the number of assistant coaches that can “evaluate” a prospective student-athlete at any one time, Christopher Radford of the NCAA told the AJC. It also effectively grounds the use of extravagant means — such as shuttling coaches around in limos or helicopters — used to draw attention to coaches’ presence at a school.
Following is the NCAA’s explanation of the new legislation:
Although during an evaluation period no in-person, off-campus recruiting contact may occur with a prospective student-athlete, it has become commonplace for institutions to send numerous coaches to a prospective student-athlete’s educational institution. Oftentimes arriving in limousines and extravagant buses, these multiple coaches are appearing at the high schools of the prospective student-athletes just as much to be seen as to actually conduct an evaluation. Many institutions are unnecessarily expending resources in order to have multiple assistant coaches attend these evaluations as a result of the perceived recruiting benefit. By permitting only two football coaches per institution to visit a prospective student-athlete’s school on any given evaluation day, it would preclude institutions from sending a large number of assistant coaches to a school just for perception purposes.
Georgia, which began its four-week spring evaluation period on Monday, was sending assistant coaches to see elite prospects in groups of seven — the maximum number allowed on the road at any one time by NCAA rules — the first three days of this week. The Bulldogs were responding in kind to the recruiting tactics first employed by Auburn coaches last year with its “Tiger Prowl,” in which multiple coaches traveled from school to school via a white stretch limousine decorated in school regalia.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs knew the new legislation was coming.
“We knew if we were going to do it in numbers at a certain place, we better do it right now,” Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald before a Bulldog Club gathering in Augusta Thursday night. “But next week was kind of a time for everyone to disperse anyway. So it worked out about how we hoped it would.”
Richt and his staff are serious about reclaiming its recruiting dominance in state, especially with Georgia’s senior class of 2011 being one of the most talented of all time. The Bulldogs sent out a news release on Wednesday proclaiming their intentions of keeping the best of the best at home. Georgia has six commitments so far, all of them hailing from the Peach State.
“By the end of next week, our assistant coaches will have been to more than 350 schools in the state of Georgia,” Richt said. “Our coaches are really pounding the state of Georgia. The focus of our staff is to make sure we recruit the state of Georgia first. As we all know, recruiting is the lifeblood of any program and our state is a hotbed for talent. It’s our job to do everything we can to show these young men the academic and athletic merits of the University of Georgia. I know if we get the best players in our state to come to the University of Georgia, we will win championships.”