Vols coach Jones criticizes NCAA rule changes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Butch Jones says pending NCAA rule changes that would allow unlimited contact between schools and prospects aren't fair to recruits.

And he believes plenty of other coaches agree with him.

We "as coaches, and our peers, we're trying to get it stopped," Jones said Wednesday at a Big Orange TipOff Club meeting. "I can't believe as coaches we didn't have a say."

The rule changes, which are scheduled to begin July 1, would remove restrictions on the number of phone calls and text messages a coach could make to prospective recruits. Coaches would be permitted to contact a recruit an unlimited number of times beginning July 1 after that prospect's sophomore year of high school.

The changes were approved by the NCAA Board of Directors last month.

"It's the equivalent of this: We have a speed limit for a reason," Jones said. "We may not like the speed limit, but you never hear the law enforcement agencies say, 'We can't enforce it, so we're just going to do away with the speed limit.'"

Jones isn't the only coach to criticize the rule changes.

Big Ten coaches and athletic directors issued a statement last week expressing "serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches."

"These are still 16- and 17-year-old young adults," Jones said. "They need to have a life."

Jones also discussed a proposed NCAA rule change that could force the ejection of anyone who leads with the crown of his head to hit a defenseless player above the shoulders.

The proposal would allow officials to use video replay to determine whether a hit merited ejection. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chairman of the NCAA rules committee, said there were 99 targeting penalties in Football Bowl Subdivision games last season that would have resulted in an ejection under the proposed rule change.

"Everything we do is based on player safety, and so we take that very seriously," Jones said. "In today's world, the kids are bigger, stronger, faster. I think we have to continue to improve. You're going to see a monumental change in college football."

Jones said it wouldn't surprise him if kickoffs eventually disappeared from the game in an effort to improve player safety.

"I do believe at some point, one time or another down the road, that the kickoff will be eliminated," Jones said. "I can just see it happening. ... In the next five years, I could possibly see that being reality."

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Comments » 7

springtx_vol writes:

How about the student athlete saying:

Coach, I appreciate you interest in me. You are welcome to contact me or my family once a week during the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 9 pm on Saturday. If you choose to contact me outside of these times, I will remove you from consideration. Thank you for understanding that I need as normal of a life as I can get while I make an important decision in my life.

oldster writes:

The rule about leading with the helmet to hit people above the shoulders has a commendable goal. However, it fails to consider several things. First, it does not consider basic human anatomy. One cannot hit with the top of one's shoulder without one's head going first. Second, it does not consider that when a ballcarrier lowers his helmet for a tackler to not lower is own is to invite a pretty traumatic injury to himself (not to mention getting run over). So, with this rule, the only way to make a tackle and not get ejected, run over, and/or hurt when a ball carrier lowers his head would be to step to the side and try to tackle as he goes by. Good luck with that. Third: many officials cannot tell the difference between a tackle with the shoulder and one by the helmet. As soon as they see the defender lower his head and then make contact, they throw a flag. I think the rules committee should just throw out tackling at all and put in flags. Alternatively, institute the same rules for ball carriers that they have for tacklers.

vol98champ writes:

How often does a NCAA rule change make sense? IMO not often. Some 16 and 17 year olds will be impressed with multiple calls per day and sign with a coach who has no interest in the athlete's "life". As far as ejections for head leading tackles; why not instead make a rule that if you are 200 lbs or larger you must not run a 40 in less than 5 seconds or you have to play rugby. 50 or so years ago very few football players weighed more than 200 lbs. I am joking about my proposed rule.

OwensboroVol writes:

If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the rules that Bruce Pearl was fired for and that were called a major infraction by the NCAA. Just more evidence that the NCAA is vindictive against some of the coaches involved in College Athletics. The rule was a joke then and still is and the fact they are dropping it means they should go back and remove the sanctions placed against Bruce Pearl for this infraction.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the rules that Bruce Pearl was fired for and that were called a major infraction by the NCAA. Just more evidence that the NCAA is vindictive against some of the coaches involved in College Athletics. The rule was a joke then and still is and the fact they are dropping it means they should go back and remove the sanctions placed against Bruce Pearl for this infraction.

Problem is he lied about it.

FanNotSheep writes:

Football players did not always launch themselves at each other. It became popular with TV replays, the old bone crunchers and modern day ESPN highlights. Just like the dunk in basketball, it has changed the game and not really for the better. Exciting for the fans? Sure, but do you want players paralyzed?

springtx_vol writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the rules that Bruce Pearl was fired for and that were called a major infraction by the NCAA. Just more evidence that the NCAA is vindictive against some of the coaches involved in College Athletics. The rule was a joke then and still is and the fact they are dropping it means they should go back and remove the sanctions placed against Bruce Pearl for this infraction.

No, Pearl did not get sanctioned for too many texts. He was sanctioned for lying about entertaining a high school junior at his house which has been and will be against the NCAA rules. The extra phone calls and texts would have been a minor violation outside of the above.

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