Fisher criticizes new NCAA recruiting rules; calls one a 'major travesty'

Ira Schoffel, Managing Editor

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PENSACOLA -- Add Jimbo Fisher to the list of prominent college football coaches who are critical of the NCAA's recent football recruiting rules overhaul, which was passed last week by the NCAA’s Division I Council.

Florida State’s eighth-year head coach wasn’t thrilled about the adoption of an early signing period in December -- mostly because he wants one even earlier -- and he was particularly bothered by new restrictions regarding relationships with high school football coaches.

As part of the changes, which are expected to be formally approved on April 26 by the Division I Board of Directors, FSU and other universities will be limited in their ability to hire high school coaches or other “individuals associated with a prospect” (i.e., parents, mentors, etc.) during the two years before or after a recruit signs with a school. That includes working summer camps and clinics.

Fisher, who talked with Warchant and two other Pensacola-based reporters before speaking to a group of donors here Thursday night, said those changes are a mistake for several reasons:

* They limit the opportunities for high school coaches to network and advance in their careers;

* They increase the potential for unscrupulous characters to become more involved in the recruiting process;

* And they likely will reduce the number of prospects who are able to be evaluated at summer camps.

“I think it's wrong,” Fisher said, echoing the sentiments of coaches like Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Kirby Smart and others. “How are the kids coming to camp? … Not being able to bring them to camp, I think, is a major travesty.”

In the past, when high school coaches were hired to work college camps, they would often bring players with them in a team van or by carpool. The players would typically still have to pay to participate in the camps, but the transportation would be provided by their coaches.

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