On Friday, the NCAA Division I council approved the addition of a 10th on-field assistant in college football, beginning in the 2018 season.
On January 9, 2018, member institutions can officially announce that addition, which is expected to largely come from the ranks of football analysts or quality control specialists, though it could also provide a great deal of upward mobility for high school football coaches looking to move into the college ranks.
For his part, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman approves of the changes, as do many other head coaches around college football.
“The 10th assistant I think is great. I think it’s sorely overdue,” Herman said during a media availability last week. “I think the recruiting calendar... I like the early signing day in December, what I don’t like is the official visits all the way through I think it’s the third week in June.
“I think that’s a lot of wear and tear on a coach or a coaching staff from I have to juggle camps and official visits. But a kid can come on an official visit, but can’t participate in the camp. So there’s a lot of juggling that goes along with that.”
Here’s how the recruiting rules are changing, a drastic move by the NCAA that will completely overhaul the entire landscape:
With the proposal's passage, prospects will be allowed to take official visits, paid for by the school, from April 1 of their junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. Before the change, official visits were not allowed before Sept. 1 of a prospect's senior year. The change in the recruiting calendar becomes effective Aug. 1 and will first affect the 2019 recruiting class.
The new legislation also has rules that keep schools from hiring those associated with prospects for non-coaching positions, like the increasingly prevalent football analyst and quality control coaching positions.
However, an individual associated with a prospect (IAWP) can take an on-field coaching position. The rule is effective immediately and can result in punishments like the permanent ineligibility of the prospect to suspensions for the head coach or assistant.
The proposal also reduces the period allowed for holding camps to one 10-day period in June, a significant reduction from the two 15-day periods in June and July. Programs are also no longer allowed to hold nationwide satellite camp tours, as Jim Harbaugh has done so infamously.
Another oversigning measure is also in the works:
The legislation limits to 25 the number of prospects whose aid is initially offered in the fall term of an academic year. Before, rules limited to 25 the number of prospects allowed to sign from Dec. 1 through May 31. This portion of the changes will affect newcomers in the 2018 signing class.
The final measure is an longer summer dead period that spans the last week of June through the 24th of July and the entire month of August.
The College Commissioners Association will have to approve the oversigning legislation in June, while the Division I Board of Directors will vote on the other legislation this month.