Ron Higgins: Proposed NCAA rule would curb early offers

Alabama football coach Saban says he's in favor of change

LSU head coach Les Miles talks to the media during the Southeastern Conference football media days on Friday, July 23, 2010, in Hoover, Ala.

Photo by AP Photo/ Butch Dill

LSU head coach Les Miles talks to the media during the Southeastern Conference football media days on Friday, July 23, 2010, in Hoover, Ala.

— A proposal by the NCAA to pass a rule that would prevent football coaches from offering scholarships to high school players until the July after their junior seasons is getting favorable responses from Southeastern Conference coaches.

Many players now get offers the summer before their sophomore and junior years while attending summer camps at various universities.

"There were about 25 guys at our (summer) camp who are going into their junior year who have received scholarship offers from other schools," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "These guys haven't even taken their ACT yet. How can you evaluate if they haven't qualified?

"You need to slow down the process so you can talk to the high school coaches and guidance counselor to get an evaluation of a young man's character, attitude and intelligence."

Florida coach Urban Meyer would like to see the NCAA pass the rule but doesn't know if it could be enforced effectively.

"It would be difficult to enforce," he said.

The league's warmest of seats

Entering this season, the SEC coaches whose job security might be in question the most are LSU's Les Miles and Georgia's Mark Richt.

Miles' 2007 team won the BCS national championship, but he's a combined 8-8 in the SEC since then. The decline is mainly due to an offense that averaged almost 14 fewer points and 134 fewer yards last year than in the 2007 season. Because of the mediocrity, his contract hasn't been rolled over the last two years.

"I don't think that's an issue; I'm fortunate to have a good contract," said Miles, 51-15 (77.3 percent) overall and 27-13 (67.5 percent) in the SEC after five seasons. "My issue is how to coach and how to prepare my team."

LSU defensive back Patrick Peterson said the team has confidence in Miles.

"We love coach Miles, and we have to play better to help defend him," Peterson said.

Richt, who is 90-27 overall (76.9 percent) and 50-22 (69.4 percent) in the SEC in his first nine years at Georgia, isn't sweating his job, though the Bulldogs were 8-5 last year (4-4 in the SEC).

"The things I can't control, I just trust the Lord with that," Richt said.

Georgia punter Drew Butler bristled when asked about Richt's job being on the line this season.

"That talk is ridiculous," he said. "It's just stuff being written to sell newspapers."

Rebels wanted in Atlanta

Gary Stokan, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and Chick-fil-A Bowl, is always seeking different SEC teams to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game that opens the regular season.

Alabama played in the first two Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, in 2008 and last season, and this year LSU faces North Carolina of the ACC in the Sept. 4 opener in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Stokan doesn't have his teams booked for 2011, but an attractive game might be Boise State and Ole Miss, which is already scheduled to be the 2011 season opener in Oxford.

"That would be a great matchup," Stokan said at this past week's SEC media days. "Tell Houston we'd love to book that."

Ole Miss coach Nutt doesn't want to move the game from Oxford to the Georgia Dome, where the Rebels have never played, either in the SEC championship game or the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

"I'd like to play in that game (in Atlanta) and our fans are pumped up about that game (against Boise State)," Nutt said. "But I probably want to leave everything the way it is. Please give us a rain check."

Dooley has expert to lean on

New Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has a valuable sounding board in his father, Vince, who is considered one of the greatest coaches in SEC history.

From 1964-88 at Georgia, Vince Dooley won 201 games, six SEC titles and a national championship in 1980.

"He's a tremendous resource," Derek said of his father. "Where I use him most is when you have to make tough decisions. We saw it this summer (after Tennessee players got in a bar fight in early July)."

Dooley admitted his father has become consumed with knowing everything possible about Tennessee.

"He's learning the geography of the state, the political history of the state, the great Civil War battles of the state, what's the motto of the state, the history of our program with all the coaches and records," Dooley said.

-- Ron Higgins: 529-2525

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Comments » 12

CoverOrange writes:

Have to agree with Urb that restricting offers till after the junior year would be hard to enforce. It's all verbal. What's to keep a coach from saying "hey, young future star of insert team name here, be expectin' a call on July 1 at midnight extendin' youins a offer to come play for us and maybe get an education on the side" and still be within the letter of the NCAA law?

Ironcity writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Have to agree with Urb that restricting offers till after the junior year would be hard to enforce. It's all verbal. What's to keep a coach from saying "hey, young future star of insert team name here, be expectin' a call on July 1 at midnight extendin' youins a offer to come play for us and maybe get an education on the side" and still be within the letter of the NCAA law?

I agree it would be hard to enforce but no harder then all the other rules. I like the rule and the idea. In a way I think it could reduce some of the flip flops that we see countless times from these kids who commit to early.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Hard to enforce? Then just camp out and investigate Bammma every year and about every 6 years or so they will be caught!

Easy!

vols2#227315 writes:

Maybe Vince can start recruiting for the vols.

BuckheadVol1 writes:

Hard to enforce but I agree with the rule

RockyTopVolFan writes:

Good proposal that will benefit the players and the schools recruiting them!

Derek Dooley is going to do just fine at Tennessee. He is an intelligent man in his young prime of life. If anyone can, he will enhance the Tennessee program and will eventually make Tennessee a potent winning program for opponents to contend with.

I am glad to see Vince enjoying his son's present employment in Knoxville and welcome Vince's enthusiasm for his son and I hope Vince will appreciate Derek's opportunity here and will support Derek remaining here when he excels as Tennessee's coach, which he will achieve given time and support by our fans. I hope Derek grows to love his job and life here and will be a successful coach for Tennessee for a very long time. I hope Derek will bring pride back to our faltering program and will recruit players who will behave and "give their all for Tennessee!"
Good Luck Coach D.
May God Bless You and Tennessee!

tennezz writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You better do the praying, It`s about time for Saban to jump ship! Remember how your last searches for a head coach worked out!!! We need not worry about the probations, Bama will take care of that themselves!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dont want al to be put on "ANOTHER" probation,but we cant controll how many times yaw break the rules and get caught.

I agree with you that beating al aint easy but we we do know how...beat yaw last year in every way except the scoreboard.

ps...we got a kicker now.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to tennezz:

You better do the praying, It`s about time for Saban to jump ship! Remember how your last searches for a head coach worked out!!! We need not worry about the probations, Bama will take care of that themselves!

I think the reason Kirby Smart stayed in Bama was that Saban is going to leave in a couple of years and Kirby's going to be the next HC.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons:

Hard to enforce? Then just camp out and investigate Bammma every year and about every 6 years or so they will be caught!

Easy!

"A day without cheatin' is like a day without sunshine."

CHITOWNVOL writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hey pansy, get a life and go back to your oil invested bama land. how does the smell of fresh crude treat ya

Ralph_Crampton writes:

The NCAA is looked upon most folks as a toothless tiger...they have few investigators in the field...not too long ago they had only 15 investigators to cover the nation. I do know over the years they have depended upon rival teams to write them long detailed letters about other teams breaking rules...and give them solid evidence along with the letter...before they (NCAA) make a move...and then it becomes a slow moving investigation that may take years....Now the 15 investigators was years ago...i'm sure they have more today. many of the investigators are retired FBI agents...but not all.

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