NCAA OK’s rule relaxation limit for ‘countable’ football coaches

The NCAA Division I Council on Tuesday approved a rule change that will allow all football staff members to provide coaching instruction during practices and games, a change that removes some restrictions on the NCAA’s previous maximum of 11 “countable” coaches.

According to the NCAA, the decision would take effect immediately after Wednesday’s meeting.

“Moving forward, any staff member may provide technical and tactical instructions to student-athletes during practices and competitions,” the NCAA said.

The new rule means that at the FBS level, only ten assistants and the head coach are allowed to recruit off campus. The national service academies will have four additional off-campus recruiters. Only staff members “who regularly conduct on-campus coaching activities with student-athletes can be counted as off-campus recruiters.”

According to the NCAA, FBS programs can still have a maximum of four graduate student coaches and no more than five strength and conditioning coaches. The limits for student assistant coaches are the same as the number of outside recruiters allowed for a football program.

“NCAA members continue their efforts to modernize support for student-athletes, and lifting restrictions on skills teaching in football will provide those student-athletes with more resources to reach their greatest potential on the field,” said Josh Whitman, president of the council and athletic club. director at Illinois, in a prepared statement from the NCAA. “At the same time, the Board has determined that maintaining restrictions on recruiting will maintain competitive balance in recruiting while localizing decision-making on how to best maximize support for student-athletes.”

The rule is intended to address the large staffs that some of the larger programs hire with ambiguous titles such as “quality control” coaches, analysts, directors of player personnel and player development.

Instead of the gray area that existed before, which was a nightmare for many schools, those staff members are now allowed to provide practice-oriented instruction. The rule is not intended as a green light for head coaches to hire 12 new assistants. Instead, the idea is to modernize the rule and allow for scenarios such as when fired head coaches are repurposed into other staffs in the guise of a “quality control” coach who previously ignored the rule to provide instruction.

“Instead of micromanagement and some people trying to abuse it,” said one source, “let’s just allow it. There’s a point where returns diminish. You can’t have a hundred coaches.”

While some have expressed concerns about coaches building super-sized staffs, the number of coaches wearing headsets on game day is not expected to change. There was a feeling within the football monitoring committee that it would be unrealistic to allow staff members to coach during the week, but then not provide them with any instruction or encouragement on match days.

Craig Bohl, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told ESPN in May that the rule was adopted unanimously by the Football Oversight Committee. Bohl said the AFCA coaches were also unanimous in their support for the rule.

“It gives younger coaches, younger people in our profession, an opportunity to coach, and right now they’re being limited,” he said. “It’s a common sense approach. We’re now in a position where players are being compensated. So why worry about an assistant quarterback coach? We have bigger fish to fry with the challenges in college football.” “

The NCAA Council also voted Tuesday to immediately remove cannabinoids from the banned drug class for championship and postseason participation in football.

“The NCAA drug testing program is intended to focus on competitive integrity, and cannabis products do not provide a competitive advantage,” Whitman said. “The council’s focus is on policies that address the health and well-being of students and athletes, rather than punishing cannabis use.”

All sentences currently being served by student-athletes who previously tested positive for cannabinoids will be halted.

The council also approved additional changes to the recruiting calendar recommended by the FBS and FCS oversight committees, including moving football’s early signing date to the first week of December. In FBS football, the July dead period was extended. Beginning July 1, there will be a 31-day dead period during which coaches can prepare for the upcoming season without focusing on recruiting. The council also added a quiet period in December to allow teams to focus on the postseason and allow for on-campus recruiting. The January contact period was extended, giving schools the opportunity to recruit high school seniors and transfers to four-year colleges.