Monday Morning Kickoff

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Last updated: 01/21/2013 5:17 AM
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Football
Monday Morning Kickoff: The Adjustment Bureau
By Tony Gerdeman

* The NCAA has been intent on "streamlining" their rulebook for about a year now, having had no fun micromanaging the unfair practices of out-of-control media guides and the like. Well, late last week they finally announced two dozen changes to their rulebook involving recruiting, noting it was done in the interest of "common sense".

Division I took its first steps toward a rulebook that is more meaningful, enforceable and supportive of student-athlete success when the Board of Directors on Saturday adopted a set of proposals aimed at creating a more flexible manual based on common sense.

“These new rules represent noteworthy progress toward what can only be described as more common sense rules that allow schools more discretion in decision-making,” Emmert said. “This vote by the Board of Directors refocuses our attention on the things that really matter, the core values of intercollegiate athletics.”

Some of the changes get rid of limits on phone calls and text messages, and things of that nature. It also comes to the conclusion and agreement that, simply, some schools have it better than others, and that's just the nature of the business. It sounds like a ridiculous and unnecessary step, but when it comes to an organization that penalizes schools for excessive cream cheese, it really isn't.

However, there is one change that reflects anything but the "core values of intercollegiate athletics", and that is rule "13-4".

which will eliminate the requirement that institutions provide materials such as the banned-drug list and Academic Progress Rate data to recruits.

The NCAA requires, or required, schools to provide quite a bit of additional information to recruits and their families, but now they are getting rid much of that. And the most puzzling of these eliminations is the Academic Progress Rate.

The Academic Progress Rate is a "term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates." Basically, it lets people know if a school keeps its student athletes on track to graduate.

With that in mind, I am puzzled as to why the NCAA doesn't want schools with poor APRs to let prospective students know that that particular school has trouble graduating players. If this is a core value of intercollegiate athletics, then those values might want to be adjusted just like these rules have been.

If you're a parent of a recruit, what does it say to you when the NCAA okays a school's desire to keep its APR as secret as possible? Yes, anybody can go online and check the scores, but how many parents even know it exists? At least when schools were required to make it known, parents and players had a fighting chance of finding out about it.

Though as confusing as the scores are, maybe it doesn't even matter. Do you know whether a 925 is good or bad? Neither do most parents.

* While we all lament the coming death of college football in the Midwest as the population shift to the South continues, it might be interesting to note that Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame all have top five recruiting classes according to Rivals and Scout.

Per Rivals, Notre Dame has the #2 class, OSU has the #4 class and Michigan has the #5 class. Scout has Michigan ranked #1, Ohio State #2 and Notre Dame #4. The Buckeyes and the Irish also have top five classes according to ESPN and 247 Sports, while Michigan resides just outside the top five of each.

If all goes well, the bulk of those recruits will contribute to continued success for years down the road. But more immediately, it will lead to another outstanding recruiting class. It's the college football circle of life.

So yes, the reports of the Midwest's death are greatly exaggerated. Though there are certainly parts that have atrophied.

* Last Monday, the Michigan Wolverines got a commitment from Reon Dawson, a 2013 defensive back prospect who had been committed to Illinois. On Tuesday, Illinois linebackers coach Mike Ward tweeted this. (I'd write about it further, but @AMERICAHELLYES has already said all that needed to be said.)

* Given the slow start to Ohio recruiting in Urban Meyer's first year, it's been a little bit surprising how quickly some of the Buckeye state's finest in the 2014 class are getting offered by the Buckeyes now.

According to Scout, only six Ohioans have offers at this point, but the fact that they have them so early is a change. Of course, it was bound to happen as Meyer and his staff finally got a year under their belts to actually scout the in-state talent, but it's still a bit new.

In Meyer's first year, Brady Hoke and Michigan had a leg up on the Buckeyes given his familiarity with the Ohio talent. That leg up, however, has gone away and the Buckeye staff is locating and targeting the Ohio prospects that they like the most, and offering them before Michigan can.

So far per Scout the 2014 Ohio offers have gone to:

LB Kyle Berger (Cleveland St. Ignatius)
DB Erick Smith (Cleveland Glenville)
OL Marcelys Jones (Cleveland Glenville)
WR Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield)
ATH Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland Glenville)
LB Dante Booker (Akron SVSM)

It would seem that Meyer wants to lock down the prospects that they view as Ohio's best, and then spread out to the rest of the nation. The 2014 class is viewed as a down year in Ohio, so focusing the recruiting efforts in-state may not bring the proper return on investment that the Buckeye coaches would like.

It's not clear if Snodgrass has a committable offer at this point, and Jones is already committed, but the sooner Ohio State locks up Berger, Smith, Lattimore and Booker, the sooner they can put more focus on the rest of the country (as well as the rest of the state).

Berger seemed like the best bet to become the next Buckeye, but a recent offer from Michigan may slow his plans down a bit. Being a St. Ignatius guy, he's a huge fan of current Michigan linebacker and Iggy alum Jake Ryan. You can expect the Wolverines to use that to their advantage.

While it's still a long way until Signing Day in 2014, the Buckeye coaches have to feel good about where they stand with the in-state recruits that they know they want. And much of that good feeling comes from the fact that Ohio State offered Berger, Lattimore, Booker and Smith before Michigan did.

* Every weekday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.,
WTKA in Ann Arbor has a show called "The Michigan Insider", which provides exactly what the title suggests. It's four hours per day of just Michigan athletics talk. Depending on when you catch it, you can probably get your year's supply of Schadenfreude in less than an hour.

The reason I bring this up is because I find myself wondering if Columbus could handle a similar four-hour "Ohio State Insider" show in the same time slot. I tend to think not.

Columbus used to have a local morning show on 1460 The Fan many, many years ago, but that eventually gave way to ESPN Radio and all of their assorted Mikes and Mikes. I'm assuming business has never been better.

I just don't think the bulk of Columbus would support an intensive show about Ohio State. After all, for the last few years, the most popular local show on the The Fan has featured hosts who couldn't speak about the football team's two-deep in any type of meaningful depth, and the listeners never seemed to mind.

Would Buckeye fans want a show where hosts could talk about what's going on with the wide receiver recruiting, or how the linebacker battle is looking, or the 2014 non-conference schedule without having to rely on other members of the media to call in and tell them about it?

To me that sounds like a no-brainer. Instead, it seems like Columbus listeners actually prefer that The Fan air 'Mike and Mike' on both their AM and FM stations simultaneously for some reason.

* You know what's great about Twitter? Bret Bielema and his wife like to respond to Badger fans and troll Wisconsin beat writers.


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