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NCAA loosening restrictions on IAWP rule

The NCAA on Wednesday hinted at major changes coming to the IAWP rule.

The NCAA instituted the IAWP rule -- individual associated with a prospect -- to prevent schools from hiring high school coaches, trainers or family members of prominent recruits in order to game the recruiting process. The rule, adopted in 2017, prevented schools from hiring persons dubbed IAWPs for a two-year period both before and after the prospect's recruitment, unless that individual joined the full-time coaching staff. (The rule passed with AFCA support.)

Recognizing the rule could have unintended consequences -- some of which were pointed out at the time -- the NCAA is moving to change it.

Here's the announcement:

The Council also adopted a proposal that narrows the definition of an individual associated with a prospect in bowl subdivision football and men’s and women’s basketball. The proposal was tabled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members think the base rule, aimed at preventing schools from hiring people in a prospective student-athlete’s life in order to gain a recruiting advantage, has had the unintended consequence of preventing coaches and noncoaching staff members from career advancement at different schools. The change will be effective Feb. 24 if Division I Board of Directors members do not object.

As to the specific language, FootballScoop obtained this from the NCAA:

Intent: In basketball and bowl subdivision football, to specify that the definition of an individual associated with a prospective student-athlete does not include an individual who maintained (or directed others to maintain) contact with a prospective student-athlete (or a prospective student-athlete's relatives, legal guardians or coaches) only while employed in the athletics department at another four-year institution; further, to specify that an institution may reassign an individual associated with a prospective student-athlete from a countable coaching staff position to a noncoaching staff position or strength and conditioning staff position, provided the individual has been a countable coach at the institution for the previous academic year.

In plain English, what the proposal (authored by the ACC) attempts to do is not to open the floodgates for coaches to join from the high school or amateur ranks, but to loosen the restrictions on coaches who have already been hired at the college level but whose movements may have been hampered by the IAWP rule.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.