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March 28, 2013The NCAA's new hands off approach to recruiting came and went about as fast as the Snuggie.
The NCAA's initial rule changes were going to allow teams to hire unlimited staff to contact recruits, send unlimited pieces of mail to recruits and be able to make unlimited phones calls and text message to prospects starting Aug. 1, 2013.
What we've learned now is the coaches and administrators have spoken up and the NCAA has listened. The NCAA has already said schools won't be able to hire additional staff to contact recruits and there still will be restrictions placed on mailings.
The third rules change that will allow unlimited contact has basically been suspended, but will go through the normal override process before officially being shut down.
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said he is 100 percent behind the NCAA on this and glad they listened to the coaches around the country before making such drastic changes.
"I haven't talked to one coach that's for it," Pelini said of the proposed new rules. "That's across the country in all leagues. I know a lot of guys. I haven't talked to one coach that thinks that's a good idea."
"I think they needed table them because they didn't make sense and now we can figure out something that does make sense. What they were proposing was absurd."
Even though the third rule hasn't officially been shot down, Pelini would be very surprised if it passes when voted on later this spring.
"That's the worst one of them all. I sure hope it doesn't come into play," Pelini said of the unlimited contact rule. "It's like they took the first two out and they were going to leave that in. You can't do that if you don't have some form of the first two and allow you to have more people to do it. The whole thing hasn't made sense and hopefully they figure out something that does."
In preparation for the potential rule changes teams across the country already began hiring additional staff. Schools like Alabama made "splash hires" by bringing in names like Kevin Steele.
NU recruiting coordinator Ross Els said they purposely waited before making any type of hires because they got a pretty good indication none of the rules were going to stick.
"That's why we waited," Els said. "We didn't feel right hiring somebody and telling them to work for us and all of a sudden the NCAA changes their mind, which they did.
"I think once the Big Ten came out and said these are the three things we disagree with we said 'alright, let's plan for it, let's get a list of ideas together and let's see what happens with the NCAA.'"
Right now Els's focus going forward is on the April 6 Red-White game, along with the spring evaluation period that begins on Apr. 15.
"We think it's going to be a great opportunity, because everybody knows we are one of the few games in town," Els said. "Can we get kids coming from a distance? We hope so. We've invited a ton of them. I don't know how many we'll end up with and how many we want, but we are trying to get as many of our offer guys as we can."
As for the spring evaluation period, there have been some slight adjustments made since last year.
Els said the NCAA now allows teams 168 evaluation opportunities. If you have seven coaches out in one day it counts for seven of your 168 evaluations. If you divide the 168 evaluations out over NU's nine assistants each coach would get 18.7 days out on the road, which definitely gives Nebraska more flexibility than in past years.
"It's plenty of days. We'll be out quite a bit," Els said. "We'll all be out for around four weeks."