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Sports

Vols coach Jones criticizes NCAA rule changes

February 20th, 2013 5:08 pm by Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones says pending NCAA rule changes that would allow unlimited contact between schools and prospects aren’t fair to recruits.


And he believes plenty of other coaches agree with him.


We “as coaches, and our peers, we’re trying to get it stopped,” Jones said Wednesday at a Big Orange TipOff Club meeting. “I can’t believe as coaches we didn’t have a say.”


The rule changes, which are scheduled to begin July 1, would remove restrictions on the number of phone calls and text messages a coach could make to prospective recruits. Coaches would be permitted to contact a recruit an unlimited number of times beginning July 1 after that prospect’s sophomore year of high school.


The changes were approved by the NCAA Board of Directors last month.


“It’s the equivalent of this: We have a speed limit for a reason,” Jones said. “We may not like the speed limit, but you never hear the law enforcement agencies say, ‘We can’t enforce it, so we’re just going to do away with the speed limit.’”


Jones isn’t the only coach to criticize the rule changes.


Big Ten coaches and athletic directors issued a statement last week expressing “serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.”


“These are still 16- and 17-year-old young adults,” Jones said. “They need to have a life.”


Jones also discussed a proposed NCAA rule change that could force the ejection of anyone who leads with the crown of his head to hit a defenseless player above the shoulders.


The proposal would allow officials to use video replay to determine whether a hit merited ejection. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chairman of the NCAA rules committee, said there were 99 targeting penalties in Football Bowl Subdivision games last season that would have resulted in an ejection under the proposed rule change.


“Everything we do is based on player safety, and so we take that very seriously,” Jones said. “In today’s world, the kids are bigger, stronger, faster. I think we have to continue to improve. You’re going to see a monumental change in college football.”


Jones said it wouldn’t surprise him if kickoffs eventually disappeared from the game in an effort to improve player safety.


“I do believe at some point, one time or another down the road, that the kickoff will be eliminated,” Jones said. “I can just see it happening. ... In the next five years, I could possibly see that being reality.”

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