Tyler Campbell Research Paper Dr. Miller Class 10:10 MWF College Recruiting Reforms College recruiting over the past two decades has been getting more intent on finding the most athletic or talented player, but willing to give up good character, discipline, and well set academic standards. Just recently has the NCAA made milestone reforms to the recruiting process, scholarships, and academic standards not only for individuals but teams as a whole. The new reforms and stipulations for players and coaches are well thought out and though they are cracking down on academic standards and misconduct it is fair in the same sense.

College athletes should be held to the same standards as non-athletic scholars, if not higher because they are ultimately there to graduate first and the reforms will ensure that is a higher focus. Many coaches are so focused on winning and beating their rivals that they do not look for all around student athletes or players with good character or discipline. The main thing coaches today look for is who can perform the best and get that national championship for me. They do it because the risk of passing on a potentially elite player with character or academic issues is far greater than the risk of taking him.

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They do it because, despite whatever lip service their bosses give to indicate otherwise, their jobs depend almost entirely on wins and losses. They do it because they feel they have to. For example, Urban Meyer, who during his last several years as Florida coach had, to give just three examples, a player commit fraud by using the credit card of a deceased woman; a player send a threatening “time to die” text message to an ex-girlfriend; and a player get stopped for a DUI the week of the SEC Championship Game. But Meyer won two BCS championships, was treated like a king by his employer and left on his own accord after last season.

These examples show how college recruiting has become more about talent than actual good character, academic standards, and values (Mandel, 2011:1) The reforms to the recruiting process will help not only the coaches to recruit easier and get more in touch with their upcoming prospects from high school, but also will give prospective players a chance to be more acquainted with coaches, players, and make choosing the right college easier due to increased communication . Before the reforms coaches were very limited in contacting prospects such as by phone, text messaging, etc.

The coaches could not contact players that they were thinking of recruiting until the end of the players junior year in high school. Now however coaches are able to contact prospects without limit as long as the recruit has completed their sophomore year in high school. This change gives not only coaches a better chance to scout talent but also gives players two years to decide where they would like to play if being recruited instead of just their senior year (Gardiner, 2011:1). Also, the recruiting or scouting timeline has change for coaches as well.

Coaches are now allowed four days in April (previously a dead recruiting period) to evaluate upcoming freshman, while the period in July was dropped to twelve days in place of twenty. Even though the period in July was decreased now coaches and recruits have earlier opportunities to meet with each other, with the teams, and visit the college to feel out where they would be best suited to continue their career. A proposal to allow coaches more opportunities to work with recruits and current players during the summer was endorsed in concept, with final passage by the board likely in January (Gardiner, 2011:1).

Scholarship stipulations have become a big part of arguments between people for and against the reforms. Schools can now offer players $2,000 of additional spending money along with the scholarships covering tuition, room, and board that many student athletes already receive. This $2,000 add on is not a mandatory reform but an optional change if colleges choose to accept it (Mandel, 2011:2). Emmert (NCAA President) insists it is not pay-for-play, merely the reintroduction of a stipend that existed for college athletes until 1972. He also compared it to the stipends received by other students who receive non-athletic scholarships.

The major argument for the ones who disagree with the reforms is that the add on of up to $2,000 is not enough. Studies show that college players spend an average of $3,000-$4,000 to cover the cost of college. Another concession people have about the add on is that more well known schools will push the lesser schools out of conferences and cause another conference realignment due to the smaller schools not being able to pay the $2,000 add to the recruits so no recruit will even think twice about the smaller schools (Marot, 2011:3). “The $2,000 stipend will increase the gap between rich schools and smaller programs struggling to compete.

The stipend is, after all, voluntary, and must be funded by the college itself — something that small schools won’t be able to afford. They will end up “priced out” when recruiting new players” says Gwen Knapp at The San Francisco Chronicle (Mandel, 2011:2). Along with the increased add on the NCAA has approved schools to award multi-year scholarships. These scholarships help the recruits increasingly, as they can’t have their scholarships revoked from athletic performance or injury like the old rules. In addition high school seniors used to need a 2. 0 GPA in 16 core courses. Now they’ll need a 2. and will have to complete 10 of those classes before their senior year. This new stipulation will ensure that students concentrate on grades so they will be able to play sports at the next level (Marot, 2011:4). Out of the entire reform package the greatest changes that were made, with the most importance to college recruits and teams was the academic standards. In August the NCAA tightened up on academics and went back to the drawing board to try and put the emphasis on grades. First, there was a minimum Academic Progress Rate (APR) set at 900 for teams that wanted to compete in postseason play.

Now after the reforms the NCAA has raised its required minimum APR to 930. Schools that do not make the grade could also face additional penalties such as reductions in practice time and game limits, coaches suspensions, scholarship reductions and restricted NCAA membership. The UConn men’s basketball team (reigning national champions) may be the first to take a blow with academics this year due to the low APR. Last year the team averaged a 826 and a official for UConn said that this year it will approximately be 975 this year which would still be too low of an average to play in the tournament this year which they won last year.

Emmert said if the new rule had been used last year, seven men’s basketball teams and eight football teams would have been ineligible for the postseason. And there’s almost no way out for teams who don’t make the grade (Marot, 2011:4). These new eligibility requirements are a great reform to make sure that the student will stay in the name “student athlete” and to make sure it is really a way of life and not just a label. In the end the college players are there to get their degree and graduate so these reforms are a great way to make sure that those goals of graduation are met.

The question that NCAA representatives continue to try to find the answer to is that if high school recruits or their parents really know the rules of the NCAA or the schools they are thinking of playing at. Not knowing the full extent of rules or regulations of a school could influence a recruits choice negatively, and maybe have them go somewhere they had to settle for. Recent interviews with high school recruits and college athletes and their parents show that nearly half the parents and players do not know the rules of the NCAA or the intended school for the recruit.

What the players and parents did not know that the NCAA didn’t allow schools multi-year contracts, termination of scholarships for any reason even injury, or that passing the exact number of courses/hours required to be eligible to play 4 years will not be sufficient to get a degree, especially if the player takes a single remedial course. Also, the recruits do not know the number of players at each school who are guided into remedial classes as freshmen and the graduation rate of  players who take even a single remedial class (Ballast, 2011:1).

Now since the reforms have taken place, there are now multi-year contracts available for recruits which will guarantee a recruits intent to the school so that will be better for coaches. Another helpful part of the reform is that now college recruits will know what the exact rules of the schools are, because before coaches can contact players they must explain and have the recruits sign a letter of agreement saying they were told the terms (Ballast, 2011:1). The new recruiting reforms that are placed now are allowing more of a fair chance for recruits to decide on where to go and the knowledge of where they are going.

Whether you are for the new recruiting reforms or believe there should be more changes, one thing can be agreed on and that is that the NCAA is starting to crack down and change areas of the rules in interest of the NCAA community and its members. The new reforms have allowed coaches and players to become more acquainted and has given players earlier opportunities to show their talents on the field in the recruiting process. Scholarships for recruits are now more secure and now have an option for schools to give an additional $2,000 for the total coast of college together.

The security is greater with terminations, as players can’t be terminated for athletic performance or injury and the add on will help for college expenses in general. The most important reform is the major emphasis on “making the grade”. Academic standards have been set for incoming recruits higher, team APR has been increased, and more penalties for academic misconduct. This last reform along with the entire reform package will greater ensure fairer stipulations or coaches and players and keep the integrity and character in the game of college sports.