College football coaches have a lot of different opinions on various recruiting topics.
But there was one issue agreed upon by the majority of coaches from the across the country interviewed by the AJC this spring:
They think that the college should be able to pay for the travel expenses of at least one parent or legal guardian to accompany a recruit on his official visit.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema: “We really should pay for at least one parent to come on an official visit. I think kids, when they are on official visits to these schools, they can so easily be fooled by coaches or people they are in touch with that really isn’t reality. They get promised these things that don’t ever happen or don’t come true. If there’s a parent around that can monitor everything, first the kid can make better decisions. And in the process, you’d have better relations down the road. I think that’s very apparent.”
LSU’s Les Miles: “I think having a prospect’s parent with them on a visitation is a tremendously important piece. I think that should be made available for at least one parent — no matter what the length or distance is. If you’re going to bring in a guy from California, you might as well bring in his mom or dad with him. If you need both parents, then maybe the family buys the ticket. But if it’s the decision-maker, they need to come because (the family needs) to be comfortable, especially if there’s long distance involved. If you can encourage parental interaction in any way in recruiting, then I’m for it.”
South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier: “That’s fine with me. Whatever we can do to help the parents of prospective players, I think that’s good.”
Tennessee’s Butch Jones: “Well I do think that’s very important. When a young man makes a decision that will set the course of not only the next three to five years but also the rest of his life – it’s a big, big decision. It would be appropriate to allow at least one parent to accompany them on an official visit.”
UGA’s Mark Richt: ““I think if you are going to pay for someone to come with the young man, I would pay for two. I would not have the family have to decide who gets to go and who has to stay home. Obviously they could pay for the other parent, but I think if you are going to do it make it two.”
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: “I would like to see us pay for up to two parents. Our niche here, I believe, is selling our family atmosphere. Our chances (of signing a kid) go way up should we have the people that have the kid’s best interests at heart here with them, which should be and often is the parents. I’m for anything that can help us do that more frequently and easier.”
Miami’s Al Golden: “I think that would be great. I think it’s the right thing to do. If that means that we limit the official visits by one to do so, to make ends meet, then I think that would be the right thing to do. There are such a great number of kids making a decision prior to their senior year that many of the kids, perhaps the majority, aren’t using all five official visits anymore. So if taking it down to four and then compensating parents for their travel, I think would allow them (the recruits) to include their family and include the people that have been their decision-makers their whole life, the people the trust the most .. this would allow them to be exposed to everything that each particular college can offer a young man.”
Currently under NCAA rules, colleges can pay for the lodging and meals of a recruit’s parents during an official visit once they arrive on campus. The colleges can also indirectly fund the travel expenses, such as car mileage, as long as the recruit is riding in the same automobile with the parents.
The problems arise when recruits take trips to far-away schools, which makes driving illogical or not really an option. For example, airplane tickets get expensive when a kid from Georgia wants to visit colleges in the Pac-12 or Big Ten. It’s also pricey when recruits fly to schools much closer, but don’t schedule the trip until the last minute.