NCAA tweaks FBS recruiting, summer access rules

None of the new changes to the NCAA's FBS football rulebook announced Wednesday afternoon are game-altering reforms, exactly. But they should make compliance offices' jobs at least a little easier.

The NCAA wrote that the changes "emerged after months of research into recruiting issues identified by football coaches. That research included surveys of both student-athletes and coaches and was conducted by a subcommittee of the division’s Leadership Council."

Perhaps chief among them is an allowance for FBS players to engage in up to eight weekly hours of "required weight training and conditioning" for an eight-week period over the summer, in order to be better prepared for the season. The conditioning will be available only to players who are enrolled in summer school or "meet specific academic benchmarks."

In recruiting, the rules changes established two new FBS dead periods, with one starting in late June and the other running from Dec. 16, 2013 to Jan. 15, 2014. Though the NCAA specifies the latter period as running from "the Monday of the week in which mid-year junior college transfers can begin signing the National Letter of Intent" to "the Wednesday of the week of the AFCA convention," it also just-so-happens to coincide neatly with bowl season -- and means coaches involved in January bowls won't be forced to miss any recruiting time.

The changes also "prohibit a school’s staff members from attending an all-star game or activities associated with those games and from having in-person contact with recruits participating in the games from the time the recruit arrives at the event until he returns to his home or school" -- likely a reaction to the proliferation of high school All-American-type events.

Lastly, the NCAA also allowed schools to begin providing meals for "up to four family members" on a recruit's official visit. Previously, only the recruit's parents (or guardians) or spouse or children could receive such a benefit.

So maybe the coaches had plenty of input on the changes. But the person likely happiest about them is the official visitor's little broher or sister who now gets his or her free Happy Meal.

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