College coaches pitch new recruiting calendar

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LAS VEGAS – The discussion went back and forth for more than three hours. It was spirited, energetic, and it came from voices from big schools, little schools and all those in between.

The subject: a proposed recruiting calendar for NCAA Division I coaches. Hashing out the details took the better part of an afternoon this week at the Golf Coaches Association of America’s annual convention at the Tropicana Hotel.

Earlier this fall, the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Personnel Cabinet contacted coaches associations in a variety of sports for input on setting recruiting periods for their respective sports. The GCAA received an extended deadline for coaches to discuss the options at the convention. The cabinet is expected to meet in February to review the proposals.

The cabinet’s two main goals in establishing recruiting calendar: ease budgetary pressures and improve coaches’ work-life balance.

Golf coaches have virtually unlimited freedom to recruit off campus all year.

The NCAA expects to impose limitations but wants coaches’ input in setting them.

The discussions at the GCAA convention ranged from the actual number of days a coach or coaches would be allowed to travel and recruit to time frames to impose “dead” periods (when recruiting in any form is not permitted), to “quiet” periods (when no off-campus recruiting is allowed).

The GCAA formed three committees – East, Central and West – to gather regional feedback in proposing a recruiting calendar. From those committees, a proposal was sent to GCAA members for review.

After the talk and straw votes, 74 of the 90 voting members present agreed to a proposal much like the one submitted by the three committees and very similar to that which the National Golf Coaches Association (women) submitted to the NCAA earlier this month.

The highlights of the GCAA proposal:

• a maximum of 50 off-campus recruiting days (if two coaches are out recruiting on the same day, it accounts for two recruiting days) to be used at the coach’s discretion

• mandated dead periods around the week of the fall and spring National Letter of Intent signing periods

• a quiet period from the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, with the exception of up to six off-campus contact and evaluation days (allowing coaches to attend late-season junior events), with these days counting toward the 50-day maximum number

Many coaches think that after the cabinet meets in February, modifications might be necessary.

“We knew that everyone was not going to agree on everything,” said Todd Satterfield, head coach at Furman and a GCAA vice-president. “Our goal is to provide the cabinet what we feel is the best thing for men’s golf. This is a good start, because if we did nothing, we would have no control over what the NCAA might do.”

Derek Freeman, head coach at UCLA, said the calendar is inevitable.

“As a group, the golf coaches need to come together and let them know which direction we would like to go that would work for all parties involved,” he said.

Any change wouldn’t be likely until the 2012-13 season.

“This is a matter the coaches know they have to deal with,” said Gregg Grost, CEO and executive director of the GCAA. “The decisions the NCAA ultimately makes on this will affect the way the sport is run and coaches coach from now on.

“I think we had some great discussion during our convention on this and heard from a large number of coaches. We’ll submit our proposal and go from there.”

So the waiting game begins.

But the good news is, the GCAA and the NGCA are making their voices heard.

All we can hope for is that the NCAA is listening.

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