Unlimited phone, texts to recruits in danger of being overridden

Somewhat surprisingly, an NCAA proposal to allow unlimited phone and text messages to recruits was within 19 votes of being overridden Tuesday morning, 1½ days before a Wednesday evening deadline.

Rules Working Group Proposal 13-3 had 56 votes in support of an override according to the NCAA's Legislative Services Database. That was up from 50 votes on Monday evening. Seventy-five votes are required to override a proposal. If that occurs, the NCAA board of directors must review the proposal. If there are 125 override votes, the proposal is immediately suspended until review by the board.

Updated vote totals can be tracked on that NCAA database. The deadline for overrides is Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET.

Earlier this month, the Rules Working Group (RWG) recommended to the board that it suspend two other proposals regarding liberalized recruiting and printed materials. Those proposals were suspended on Monday. In January, the board adopted 25 recruiting deregulations by the RWG. They cut 25 pages from the NCAA's complex manual and were a part of president Mark Emmert's reform agenda.

Overriding 13-3 would be unexpected. Critics are concerned that parts of the RWG's recruiting deregulations would create an “arms race” in recruiting. However, eliminating phone restrictions were seen as a common-sense approach given modern technology. If a recruit doesn't want to answer a phone call or text, he/she can simply ignore it.

The NCAA pointed out in a Monday release that the football coaches are already allowed unlimited phone contact during the fall contact period. The release pointed out, “[g]iven this, the practical impact of RWG-13-3 will be to permit unlimited calls for only a few additional months.”

Men's basketball has operated without text or phone restrictions for nearly a year.

“There's always rush [of override votes] at the end,” said one person intimately familiar with the process. “Whether that rush is occurring here is hard to quantify.”

On Monday, the board suspended two key pieces of recruiting deregulation regarding liberalized recruiting rules and relaxation of printed materials sent to prospects. Proposal 11-2 would have allowed non-coaching staff members -- including the likes of sports information directors -- to recruit. Critics of Proposal 13-5-A, which would have eliminated restrictions on printed materials sent to prospects, were concerned that schools would be tempted to go back to the days of 600-page media guides that were also used as recruiting tools.

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