The college football industry is preparing for the expected return of in-person recruiting and evaluation on June 1, thereby ending a 13-month dead period, the longest in the sport's history.
That 13-month break has given the Powers That Be ample opportunity to re-examine and re-imagine the recruiting process from top to bottom, and it could result in repealing an old rule.
According to Athlon's Bryan Fischer, the NCAA is considering repealing the "Nick Saban rule," which prohibits head coaches from leaving campus during the spring evaluation period.
For those who don't recall, the NCAA passed the rule -- at the SEC's and the AFCA's -- in the spring of 2008. At the time, head coaches were allowed to join their assistants on the road and, while they were prohibited from speaking with recruits, they could collect intel on current and future prospects by speaking with high school coaches, teachers, and other adults involved in the recruiting process.
And while coaches were not allowed to speak with recruits, there was a widely held believe at the time that certain coaches (cough Nick Saban cough) were bending the rules by arranging "random" path-crossings with players.
Saban wasn't the only target of his colleagues' ire -- Urban Meyer at Florida and Pete Carroll at USC were targets as well -- but Saban's 2003 LSU national title was recent history at the time, and he'd spent the spring of 2007 building Alabama's monster recruiting class. That 2008 group included future Heisman winner Mark Ingram, multi-year All-American Barrett Jones, and future first-round picks Julio Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Marcell Dareus, Mark Barron and second-round pick Courtney Upshaw. That group served as the cornerstone for Saban's 2008 and 2011 national championship teams.
Saban hadn't won any of those titles by the time this rule passed, but the rest of the industry could see the storm clouds forming in the distance.
"A lot of guys don't like to recruit. They see it as a necessary evil," Saban said at the time. "I like the relationships with the players, with the coaches. I like watching football practice."
Fast forward darn near 13 years to the day later, and it's clear as crystal that violating the so-called "bump rule" did not dissolve Saban's dynasty before it could form. Six national titles later, Saban is doing just fine with his on off-campus recruiting period, and so now the people in charge of making the rules are asking why this one is there in the first place.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.