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The NCAA Began Its Long-Awaited Simplification of Rule Book

Mark Emmert’s simplification project has begun. The NCAA passed 25 proposals intended to simplify its rules, cutting about 25 pages out of the 500-page handbook.

Recruiting: The NCAA will remove restrictions on phone calls, text messages and social media communication coaches can have with recruits. Schools will also be able to hire a specialized “recruiting coordinator,” instead of pretending he’s providing insight to the wide receivers. Emmert termed this “the least controversial change in the whole process.” The NCAA can’t police this. Parents can do a much better job.

Minor Violations: Student-athletes can accept up to $300 per year in ancillary benefits not from a booster or agent. This eliminates the “hall monitor” violations that serve little purpose but to keep compliance officers busy. Schools will also be able to offer “reasonable entertainment,” eliminating the infamous cream cheese rule.

Competitive Advantages: The NCAA acknowledges “natural competitive advantages.” Those advantages won’t prohibit future legislation. Basically, the NCAA is going to allow $2,000 cost of attendance payments for student athletes, even if the smaller Division I schools can’t afford it.

The NCAA’s goal is to rationalize its rulebook, maintaining just enough of an amateurism cloak to avoid uncomfortable questions about why they aren’t compensating the labor force or paying taxes on a billion-dollar basketball tournament. Given that framework, this is a reasonable first step.

[Photo via USA Today Sports]

 

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