Kirby Hocutt says new satellite camp ban will hurt Tech

The NCAA Division I Council last week curtailed summer travel for Kliff Kingsbury and other FBS coaches.

 

Throughout his time as Texas Tech coach, Kingsbury and the Tech staff have used off-campus camps in June and July as a scouting and recruiting tool. They’ve set up shop for one-day camps with two each in the Dallas and Houston metro areas and one in Longview. Kingsbury also had a camp at his old high school, New Braunfels.

Such satellite camps were banned by last week’s legislation, the one quibble Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt had to the overall package.

“I think the summer camp piece of legislation, while I believe in the big picture of college football that will be a positive, it’s a disadvantage to Texas Tech,” Hocutt said, “given the fact you can only have camps now located on your campus or in your playing facility.

“Obviously, there has been an advantage to us to get into the Dallas-Fort Worth and the Houston markets with satellite camps, that now we’re not going to be afforded the opportunity to do that. That was one that, while I understand the rationale behind the legislation, will have a less than positive effect on Texas Tech.”

Other components of the new legislation include:

— FBS programs can hire a 10th assistant coach, effective Jan. 9. Currently, teams are limited to nine full-time assistants.

— Recruits can take official visits, paid for by the school, at the end of their junior year from April 1 through late June. That’ll be effective Aug. 1, the recruiting class of 2019 being the first to operate with the new window. Currently, official visits can start Sept. 1 of a prospect’s senior year.

— An early signing period in mid-December for players who want to end the recruiting process before February. The Collegiate Commissioners Association administers the national letter of intent program and has to vote on that in June.

— FBS schools will be limited to signing 25 players a year to a first-time financial aid agreement or national letter of intent. That’s designed to keep schools from over-signing the 25-player limit and delaying some prospects’ joining the team until January, commonly known as grayshirting.

— FBS programs can’t hire someone close to a recruit for a two-year period before and after the player’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school.

— In addition to eliminating satellite camps, the legislation narrows the time coaches can conduct camps from two 15-day periods in June or July to 10 days in June. All those have to be on campus or at facilities the school normally uses.

“It’s probably the most comprehensive set of changes the football recruiting calendar has experienced in quite some time,” Hocutt said. “I’d say there’s still considerable work to be done. While Texas Tech supported many of the changes, some we have concerns about. At the same time, it’s progress and still a lot of work to be done, but I was pleased that all of those recommendations went forward in the manner they did.”

Hocutt and former Tech senior associate AD Pat Britz were part of a 12-member panel the Collegiate Commissioners Association assembled in June 2014 to study the early signing period concept.

Before the legislation came down, Kingsbury said last week he was “pretty indifferent” in regard to an early signing period.

“I can see both sides of it,” he said. “I’ll make it work either one, but I’m not one of those strong opinionated people on that topic.”

One topic that does concern Hocutt and Kingsbury — and isn’t covered in the new legislation — is football teams’ support staff sizes. Beyond NCAA rules that limit a program to one head coach, nine-soon-10 assistants, four graduate assistants and five strength and conditioning coaches, football programs can more or less hire how many others they can afford to pay.

Nick Saban’s been a lightning rod in that regard for the army of support staff — and to some, the unfair advantage — he’s put in place at Alabama. The Crimson Tide employ seven individuals with the title of “football analyst,” a “director of player personnel” with three assistants and two with the title of “director of player development,” just to name some of the positions.

“I would anticipate that being part of phase two of the conversation around the sport of football and changes to be discussed in the future,” Hocutt said. “Staff sizes have been part of the conversation, and I know the football oversight committee that’s chaired currently by (Big 12) commissioner (Bob) Bowlsby has identified as something they intend to continue discussion on — overall support staff size in the sport of football.

“There’s a lot of conversation to be had there and (I) would probably want to participate and listen to all sides of that discussion before we form an opinion.”

Kingsbury said he’s not sure how his staff size has grown since he started in 2013.

“If I had to say, five to six more,” he said. “My only feel for that is, let’s just make sure across the country — or at least conference to conference — you’d like to have it uniform. Right now, it’s not, obviously. Some places have 50 and some have 15, and I just think it should be every program should have the same amount of people working on that staff.”

Within the Big 12, Kingsbury doesn’t believe the Red Raiders are outnumbered in personnel he can call upon.

“Talking to other head coaches, as far as our conference goes, I think we’re kind of close to the top,” he said. “But I think it’s all kind of the same. I don’t think anybody’s far and above where we’re at in our conference.”

 

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