Randy Edsall has a plan to revamp college football recruiting, and he revealed it Tuesday in a fascinating interview with Alex Prewitt.
Like any great plan, it starts with this quote:
"My whole concern," he says, "is what are we doing to the young people of America?"
Basically, it boils down to this: under Edsall's plan, colleges would not be allowed to offer players until September 1 of their senior season of high school, and he wants to transfer the power of scholarship offers from the football program to the school's admissions department. The football program would obviously decide which players they want to offer scholarships to, but the academic side of the institution would have final approval on any potential offers.
Each summer before prospects' senior year of high school, college coaches would hand a list of desired recruits to the school's admissions officers for vetting and approval. A scholarship would then be offered only if the recruit is deemed academically viable.
Under Edsall, Maryland has seen an increased focus on the academic side of the program, and the school has chosen not to offer a number of high-profile in-state prospects who had academic issues or attended academically questionable high schools.
Edsall has reportedly talked with NCAA President Mark Emmert about the plan, but it has not yet been officially proposed.
It's worth noting that Edsall has always been very progressive about players' rights from the beginning -- he's been a staunch supporter of the O'Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit, and said Thursday in response to the historic Northwestern ruling "there are issues that need to be looked at." So it's not as simple as Edsall wanting to protect his own interests -- he does appear to have serious concerns about the impact of faulty scholarship offers on players who end up not qualifying.
"You're trying to offer kids without knowing if they'll graduate high school," he said. "People just throw out these offers and there's not a lot of validity to it."
"The model to me is broken."
Urbana High School head coach (and former Quince Orchard coach) Dave Mencarini told Prewitt the biggest effect this proposal would have is cutting down on distractions for high school players, who can become overwhelmed with the flood of offers -- with none of them actually "official" until the academic situation of the student is clear.
The most refreshing part of this? It doesn't seem like yet another rule proposal that unfairly favors the program of the proposer. There's no reason that such a proposal would impact Maryland's ability to recruit (as Prewitt points out, some programs may still offer under-the-table scholarships contingent on academics, so if anything, it might hurt the Terps), but it would clear up some academic mishaps and move the focus a little more towards the student side of the student-athlete equation.
If this proposal does not pass, Edsall says he supports an early signing period (which has been proposed), allowing recruits to officially end the recruiting process early.