Leave it to the NCAA to give student-athletes too much of what they don't need and not enough of what they do need.
Seemingly since the beginning of time, the NCAA has permitted each prospective student-athletes five official visits. It's a nice, round number that seemingly allows a player to fully make up his mind before making on of the biggest decisions of his life. Except the vast majority of players don't come close to exhausting that number.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, of the more than 200 Georgia prospects that signed National Letters of Intent last month, only one took all five visits, and a grand total of three players took more than three visits. The NCAA could cut the number of allotted visits down to three, and 98.5 percent of recruits wouldn't even notice.
Something every single recruit notices, though, is not being able to bring his parents along on an official visit. The NCAA, in all its glory, allows schools to pay for meals and lodging for the parents of a recruit on an official visit, but they can't buy them a plane ticket that actually gets them to campus. It's like giving your toddler a cookie, and then placing it on top of the refrigerator.
College coaches from across the country would like to change that.
“I think that’s a very good thought and a very good proposal," said Tennessee head coach Butch Jones. "When a young man is making a decision, he would obviously like his family there with him. I think in today’s world of recruiting, very few individuals take five official visits. If you did limit them, and you were able to take a mother or father with them, I think that’s extremely healthy and very beneficial when a young man is trying to make a decision that will, quite frankly, not only affect four years of his life, but the rest of his life. It’s a big decision, and they rely on their family. So to be able to bring them on the official visit would benefit the whole recruiting process.”
“I think it’s absolutely crucial to have the family, in particular the parents, on the official visits when they’re making arguably the biggest decision of their life," added Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. "I think it’s absolutely crucial that they’re allowed to be on that visit with them if we’re really in it for the best interests of the student-athlete. Allowing us to compensate the families, and getting them on the visits so they can help the young man make the biggest decision of their life, that seems to be an easy one for me. As it relates to the number of visits, I don’t know if I have an opinion on that one way or the other because most of the time, I don’t think they use their five. But I think you should allow them to keep the five. And, for most part, they don’t use them all. I think if we find out that they are using them up just to use them, then maybe we can look at it statistically and narrow it down. But I think the most important part of that is paying for the parents to be on that visit.”