Last week, the NCAA adopted several new rules that will affect every program. In fact, some of the things Tennessee has done in the past could point to why one of these rules was created.
The biggest proposal is a new signing day period in football. February has always been host of National Signing Day, but now, high school seniors can sign as early as December. Most likely, the December signing period will last during the JUCO signing period which is 72 hours. A lot of recruits are already fully committed and want to end their recruitment early, so this could be huge for a lot of teams, including Tennessee. The Collegiate Commissioners Association must approve the rule in June, but since they run the league that promoted this new signing period, it will most likely get approved.
Another rule on the floor is one that Tennessee has some ties to. The NCAA has proposed a rule that states a school cannot hire a relative or associate of a recruit as support staff two years before and after the prospect signs. For example, new Missouri and former UT head coach Cuonzo Martin recently hired Michael Porter Sr. from Washington. It made sense because Porter had ties to Missouri as he was a women’s assistant coach there from 2010-2016. What makes even more sense is that his son, Michael Porter Jr. is the No. 1 recruit in the 2018 class and eventually signed with Missouri out of all places. Hmm, I wonder why?
Another situation that’s related surrounds highly-touted offensive lineman Trey Smith. As we all know, Smith was the No.1 overall football prospect in the country this year and is currently going through spring camp with the Vols. While Smith’s signing was the biggest of Butch’s career, many fans questioned why in the world he would sign to play in Knoxville when teams like Alabama and Ohio State made him a top priority as well. One of the reasons could be that his sister, Ashley Smith, is employed by Tennessee and has been for several years. She was a team manager under Pat Summitt and Holly Warlick from 2009-2013 and worked for the NCAA until June 2013 when she joined Tennessee as an associate director of football operations. According to team spokesperson Ryan Robinson, Trey Smith didn’t sign with UT because they gave his sister a job within the football department. However, many still didn’t believe that response. Take that as you will.
Another rule on the table would allow teams to add a 10th additional coach. Currently, teams are only allowed nine assistants, but that doesn’t include support staff such as quality control or analysts. With that, you can bet the Vols will look to add another assistant sometime within the year.
You can read the list of all the new proposed rules here: http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2017-04-14/college-football-di-council-adopts-new-recruiting-model