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NCAA moves to simplify its rulebook

GRAPEVINE, Texas – The NCAA Division I Board of Directors took the first step Saturday toward trying to simplify and deregulate the organization’s often complex and sometimes unenforceable rules.

They also publicly acknowledged the natural competitive advantages that some schools have over others, such as BCS champion Alabama compared with smaller Division I schools, while still in the context of the NCAA’s commitment to fair competition.

On the final day of the NCAA convention, the board approved 25 of 26 proposals in what is considered the most sweeping deregulation of the organization’s rulebook at a single time.

NCAA President Mark Emmert called it a singular accomplishment to make changes that “focus the rules on those things that are real threats to integrity of sport rather than things that are mostly annoying.”

Among the changes to take effect Aug. 1 will the elimination on the amount of phone calls and other private communication, such as text messages and through social media, that coaches can have with recruits.

There will also be no limit on the number of coaches who can recruit off campus at the same time. Also gone will be restrictions on sending printed recruiting material to prospects, such as the size and colors of such material.

Athletes will be able to accept up to $300 per year beyond normal expenses to attend non-scholastic events, and receive money to help offset expenses associated with practices and competition with national teams. Schools will also be able to provide expenses for athletes representing the school at events such as goodwill tours and media appearances.

The only proposal that got tabled by the 18-member board, pending further discussion, was one to allow coaches to start contacting recruits beginning July 1 between their sophomore and junior years.