Posted: 10:35 am Friday, June 13th, 2014

ACC coaches discuss controversial recruiting rule 

By Michael Carvell

The ACC’s football coaches had a lengthy discussion about the controversial “bump” rule at last month’s conference meetings, according to Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson.

The bump rule is big news this week because Florida assistant Joker Phillips abruptly resigned after an alleged flagrant violation of the NCAA rule. Yahoo reported that Phillips was photographed sitting with a recruit at a restaurant (and was turned in by someone with ties to Miami).

What is the bump rule? Every spring, college assistant coaches hit the road to check on prospects at high schools. The coaches aren’t allowed to have any “face-to-face encounter” with a recruit that exceeds an exchange of a greeting, and the greeting can’t be pre-arranged. However, in reality, the encounters or bumps are planned and often stretch into a full-fledged meeting.

It’s easily the most violated recruiting rule in the NCAA’s thick book of bylaws. Illegal bumps are rarely turned in, and usually draw only a slap on the wrist with an NCAA secondary violation (The Phillips’ allegation is an extreme example).

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson gave the AJC a candid perspective on what was discussed about the bump rule among his peers at the ACC meetings. The reasons for the discussion – and the proposed resolution – makes a lot of sense:

Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson (AJC)

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson (AJC)

“What we talked about was not to be so hypocritical, that when you go out on the road to recruit in the spring, you should be able to have one contact at the high school,” Johnson said. “Right now, the assistant coaches, by the rules, aren’t allowed to have any contact with the kids in the spring.

“We all know how that’s going, right? So what it would do is take away the definition of what is a ‘bump.’ Because we all know what’s happening. When those coaches go out to recruit in the spring, the high school coach has four kids sitting in the office waiting on them. What do you say? ‘Oh no, I can’t talk to those kids?’ Right now by the rule, the college coach can say ‘Hey, how are you doing? I can’t talk or whatever.’ Some people do that, and some people do more than that.

“What the ACC coaches were talking about was let’s clear it up and take the ambiguity out of it and you have one contact at every high school in the spring. So when we go to evaluate a kid during the spring of their junior year, we can legally sit down with him and talk to him at the high school. Not go to his house. You can have one contact.

“The service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) can do that now. When they go to the school, they can talk to everybody. So that’s what it would be. It was to clean up the rule and make it the same for everybody so you don’t have 100 different definitions on what is a bump. “

“There’s really no way to define it. Everybody can define it differently. What we’re saying just to clean it up, and you can have one contact in the spring to clean it up. You can sit down with the kid after school and at the school.”

Some more background on the bump rule by al.com: “The NCAA doesn’t allow contact with a recruit before July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year of high school. Contact is defined as “any face-to-face encounter” between a recruit and his or her family with a university representative that exceeds an exchange of a greeting. It’s not considered contact if the recruit approaches the coach, provided the encounter was not prearranged and the coach “does not engage in any dialogue in excess of a greeting and takes appropriate steps to immediately terminate the encounter.” You can split 1,000 hairs on what exactly constitutes excess dialogue and when terminating the encounter must occur.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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16 comments
RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

Unless somebody reports this rules violation, it is almost unenforceable as it is right now. I think it should just be eliminated all together. It doesn't serve much of a purpose anyway, and common sense tells you it is almost impossible to enforce.  It is just another pain in the butt rule, that the NCAA has that causes more pain than it does good.

JacketMan
JacketMan

One has to wonder why rules like this even came up in the first place. Did so many coaches start to hassle the kids, which began interfering with classes and practices, that it was felt there needed to have some "limitation" put on visits?

Mandingo
Mandingo

They should start paying theses kids  a salary to play D1 football. Nick Sabans salary could finance all of the players in the $EC.

Capt Tom
Capt Tom

A "fragrant" violation? I get accused of those quite often!

GTBob
GTBob

Just let kids talk to coaches any time they want and let coaches talk to kids anytime they want. Also let the kids sign whenever they want. Why have we created such a complex system when it could be rather simple?

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

The bump rule was named for Nick Saban and created by the lazy HC's that didn't want to get out of their offices and go visit high schools in the spring. The Tommy Tubberville's and the Fatboy Fulmer's of college football.  Keep going with the let everbody play two innings for it's working just great in this country. Look around folks.

Roxannne
Roxannne

Simply, It was not a bump. That's what the recruit says, he was to meet and told the Miami coach who arranged for the photo.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

They're getting paid now! Pell Grants for all the players that their family failed at life 5500 on taxpayer for free. Those that their family had success...well they get nothing.  Is this a great country or what.

Thanks LBJ

Burdell
Burdell

I see you corrected your typo, MC.  It was a classic...just like Capt Tom's comment.  Good stuff!  Enjoyed a good chuckle at work today.

I also see a certain comment(er) is no longer on the board.  As MB would say, "Kudos"!

ARDawg2000
ARDawg2000

I agree that the kids should be able to sign a NLI whenever they want. I don't believe the coaches should contact the players whenever. If that were to happen you would have coaches calling and camping out at the kids houses 24/7.

GTBob
GTBob

@ARDawg2000 Let the kids and their parents handle that. If the coaches continue to harass them after being asked to stop then get the authorities involved. Its not all that different than many other aspects of life. I don't think the rules were made to protect the kids anyways. Like Willie alluded to, they were made because some coaches are lazy.