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NCAA legislation, proposals could have impact on local football scene

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  • Brett Vito
  • Adam Boedeker

The NCAA endorsed sweeping legislation Friday that could alter the landscape of football from the high school to college levels.

College programs will be allowed to hire a 10th on-field assistant coach in January and be limited to holding summer camps at their on-campus facilities — rules that will directly impact North Texas.

The rules also put a two-year waiting period on college programs for hiring people in a non-coaching role who are close to a recruit. The rule also prevents a recruit from signing with a program within two years of a school hiring a person close to that recruit.

A series of proposals under consideration will be voted on by the NCAA Board of Governors on April 26. Those proposals would allow high school players to sign with colleges in December.

"Today's adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches," Jim Phillips, Northwestern's athletic director and the chairman of the Division I Council, said in a statement.

The addition of a 10th assistant could have an immediate impact on UNT, which does not have a full-time running backs coach.

UNT head coach Seth Littrell is splitting those duties with graduate assistant Herschel Sims. Former Cowboys running back Tashard Choice has assisted with the group but does not handle any on-field coaching duties.

There are several other proposals that could impact UNT, including:

-- Prospects would be allowed to take official visits to colleges beginning April 1 of their junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. The change would go in place Aug. 1 and affect players in the class of 2019. The change would be an initial step toward an early signing period.

-- Legislation under consideration would limit Football Bowl Subdivision schools to giving out 25 scholarships per year and eliminate colleges oversigning their recruiting classes and grayshirting players. Grayshirting is a tactic that allows prospects to delay enrolling full-time until the academic break in December, which allows their scholarships to be pushed back to the following class. UNT has grayshirted several players in previous seasons, including defensive end JoJo Ozougwu.

Coaches time prospects for their 40 yard time as hundreds of players turn out for North Texas' Friday Night Lights football camp at Apogee Stadium in 2014.DRC file photo
Coaches time prospects for their 40 yard time as hundreds of players turn out for North Texas' Friday Night Lights football camp at Apogee Stadium in 2014.
DRC file photo

-- The proposals under consideration would require summer camps be held in the facilities of the schools conducting the camp. Those camps would have to be held during a 10-day span in June. They are currently allowed in two 15-day periods in June or July.

The two-year hiring provision adopted Friday could have a big impact on Texas high school football coaches who are looking to make the jump to the college ranks.

The new rule states all FBS programs will be prevented from hiring people close to a recruit for a two-year period before and after the recruit signs with the program. The rule does not apply to coaches hired as an on-field assistant but instead to those hired as support staff such as recruiting coordinator or quality control officer — an avenue many coaches use to make the jump up to the college ranks. It also applies to strength and conditioning coaches.

The rule was adopted in college basketball in 2010 to curb the hiring of AAU coaches by college programs to land big-time recruits. 

The rule is effective immediately and retroactive to contracts signed on or after Jan. 18.

In recent years, a pair of notable Dallas-Fort Worth high school coaches made such a jump. Former Arlington Bowie coach Kenny Perry went to TCU as director of high school relations in 2013. Former Dallas South Oak Cliff coach Emmett Jones was hired by Texas Tech as director of player development in 2015.

Both coaches are now in an on-field capacity, as Perry is a co-defensive coordinator at Kansas and Jones is a receivers coach for Tech.

From a local standpoint, former Guyer strength and conditioning coach Bryan Kegans was hired by Texas in 2013 after Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard committed to the Longhorns. Heard signed with Texas the following February. If the new rule had been in place, Texas might not have hired Kegans at a time it was recruiting Heard.

Punishments for violating the rule can range from player ineligibility to suspensions for assistant coaches and/or the head coach.

Another notable DFW coach who left the high school ranks in recent years is Cedar Hill's Joey McGuire, who left after the 2016 season to become Baylor's tight ends coach.

Guyer head coach John Walsh talks to his team following a game last season. New NCAA rules could impact the recruiting calendar and the possibility of high school coaches making the jump to college.DRC/Jeff Woo
Guyer head coach John Walsh talks to his team following a game last season. New NCAA rules could impact the recruiting calendar and the possibility of high school coaches making the jump to college.
DRC/Jeff Woo

Guyer's John Walsh, who has coached in three state championship games and won two state titles in just more than a decade as a head coach, fits the profile of a successful high school coach who could end up in the college ranks.

Walsh said he doesn't believe the new rule will prevent high school coaches from making the jump to college.

"I think the rule is good for how recruiting has gotten and where it's headed where kids are getting special-interest people," Walsh said. "I don't think it affects Texas high school coaches' aspirations to go coach in college in any way. There might be some more maneuvering, but I don't think it will keep a coach from aspiring to be a college coach.

"It will work out well because I hope college coaches will hire their assistants for the right reasons, and this will make sure they do it."

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito. ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.