Posted: 11:31 am Monday, March 17th, 2014

SEC appeals new NCAA recruiting rule 

By Michael Carvell

The SEC is appealing a new interpretation of the NCAA’s most significant rule for college football recruiting within the past year.

It has to do with high school seniors who are approved academically to enroll early in college being able to sign financial aid agreements with multiple colleges – which, in turn, allowed those colleges to have “unlimited” contact, including in-person visits, with the prospect until they signed a national letter of intent (NLI). It also allowed the college coaches to speak publicly on the prospect.

This situation got weird when wide receiver Josh Malone of Gallatin, Tenn., signed financial aid agreements with four schools – Tennessee, UGA, Clemson and Florida State. The head coaches from all four colleges each commented publicly on Malone before he eventually signed an NLI with Tennessee.

So what’s new? It was learned earlier this month that the NCAA issued a new interpretation: If a senior signed more than one financial aid agreement beginning Aug. 1 of senior year, only the first college he signed with would have the benefits of unlimited contact and publicity.

However, a top NCAA official told the AJC that the new interpretation has been appealed by the SEC since then. The NCAA’s Div. I Legislative Council will review the matter in an April 15 session.

“The official interpretation has created a little bit of a concern among some in the membership that aren’t comfortable with — that it might result in inadvertent violations,” said Steve Mallonee, the NCAA’s Managing Director of Academic and Membership Affairs.

“If an institution is going to sign a kid, they would need to make sure he hasn’t signed with anybody else if they are going to engage in unlimited access. The issue becomes if the kid already signed with school A, and school B, C and D also signs him.

“B, C and D don’t get the unlimited access. And if they engage in that, they would be engaging in NCAA violations. It becomes the responsibility of each institution to make that determination, and there’s some who don’t feel like that’s the appropriate stance.

“That’s the concern because A, B, C, and D don’t have to share that (information with each other). So B may not let D know. You’re basically taking the word of the kid. That’s part of the issue.”

Unlike the NLI program, which is supervised by the NCAA, the financial aid agreements are shared only between the recruit and the respective college. For example, Tennessee will not disclose to UGA, Clemson and Florida State if next year’s Josh Malone (a) signs a financial aid agreement with Tennessee or (b) the date of signed agreement.

In the SEC, football information like this is protected as if it’s secrets to building a nuclear bomb. This was verified last December when the AJC requested a list of kids who signed early financial aid agreements from every SEC/ACC school. Several of those colleges refused to provide the information, sheepishly hiding behind privacy laws.

“This (situation) was never how it was envisioned,” Mallonee said. “Even though some of them (kids) might not have been serious (when they signed multiple agreements), kids were signing them and our membership basically raised some concerns.

“When they raised those concerns, basically the issue went back to our interpretive process and what they issued with the (new interpretation). The intent of the greater access (for colleges) was really designed for those who they really  are committed to, so they made this determination that only applied to the first institution where they signed. If a kid ended up signing with four or five institutions, only the first one gets the benefit of that.

“That’s the interpretation we have now. That’s going to be further reviewed in a month, and we’ll know if they will go back to original position or reverse that approach.”

What do Mark Richt and Paul Johnson think about the new NCAA recruiting rule? Click HERE

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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14 comments
SportsTopFan
SportsTopFan

SportsTopFan(c) supports the NCAA new recruiting rule !!!

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

Two things that are probably wrong with this new rule that the colleges are correctly pointing out. Having to depend on a kid to be honest is number one, followed by schools actually being straight forward with each other and letting each other know when the financial paperwork is actually signed by a kid. 

In the ultra competitive world of college recruiting, you can't depend on either of the above being done regularily I wouldn't think.


Joeyfalcon32
Joeyfalcon32

Michael no disrespect intended, but stick to stories that involve the individual recruits..(like rivals and scout).... I dont know if rivals or scout pay you to minimize updates on star recruits but that is what 90% of us read the ajc recruiting section for... No one cares about changes in the texting rule, womans basketball, etc...

mackjones
mackjones

Regular college kids can accept multiple financial aid offers at different institutions...why do we treat students who play sports differently?? If schools would really adhere to their academic mission and admit qualified students, all these special rules wouldn't be needed...

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Mama always says "Stupid is as Stupid does"  Thats all i got to say about that.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Good job MC....keep digging.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Does make sense what the coaches are saying.

They won't know if they are committing violation, if they are not formally told a kid signed at another school first. And all early agreements probably need to be time dated, in case kid signed a pile in same day.

Why is there no common sense when committees make up rules for on and off the field.

Like the problems that arose from original targeting rule. Common sense would have overturned penalty when ejection was overturned in original rule.

Common sense would have a school announce/prove a kid has signed with them first in the above recruiting rule.

I honestly would love to be in the meetings when some of these rules are made.

Who are these people?

Gandolph
Gandolph

Why not use a financial aid agreement as sort of an early signing agreement for those kids that want recruiting out of the way?  When they sign with one school, they are done unless the position or head coach leaves the program.  Then when Feb rolls around, they can sign a NLI.  To do it the way it is now, or even limited only to school A, invites more chaos in an already chaotic situation, where not only the schools but now even the kids can cheat.

HotDawg
HotDawg

If they submit signed agreement to conference and ncaa offices. those offices can submit list of signed players off limits to every ncaa member. As a requirement I would hope.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Au contraire naive one....

We do want to know when there are rule changes.

So we know ahead of time we're (school, players, and fans) about to get screwed.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Most of those in the room were probably on their smart phone during the rules making session.

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

@gtcaryd @Gandolphi like that idea also but lets face it.  the sec enjoys its catbird perch wrt recruiting.

- they can sign as many players as they want  and toss the ones they dont want back into the pond.
- the longer players hear the sec shill espn brag on how great the sec is the more likely a player will pick the sec over another conference. an early signing period DOES NOT benefit the sec