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NCAA interpretation changes recruiting rules following commitment

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The NCAA has altered its own interpretation of rules regarding the lessening or suspension of recruiting restrictions following the signing of a NLI, FAA, or offer of admission to a University.

Streeter Lecka

Before today, the rule relating to recruiting restrictions provided a loophole of sorts where a prospective student athlete (i.e., a recruit) signed a financial aid agreement or written offer of admission to more than one school.  Baylor fans saw this situation (and are living through it) with one of our 2014 recruits: WR/S Davion Hall.  The rules allow Hall, as a midterm enrollee, to sign financial aid agreements with Baylor and Texas A&M, binding the schools to him should he decide to enroll but not him to the schools should he decide not to.  In the meantime, the signing of the FAA (financial aid agreement) suspends most of the NCAA's rules regulating contact, exempting Hall from things like dead or quiet periods.  In Hall's case, this allowed Texas A&M to continue recruiting him as normal through the period where it looked like Briles might leave Baylor.  It also, of course, allowed Baylor to do the same to assuage whatever fears he might have.

The new interpretation released today changes things in that regard considerably.  Now, instead of being able to sign multiple FAAs with multiple schools and receive the benefit of lessened restrictions with each, the "legislative provisions that eliminate or reduce recruiting restrictions ... applies [sic] only to the first institution" with which the recruit signs the applicable document (NLI, FAA, offer of admission, etc.).  In Hall's case that means only Baylor (with which Hall signed his first FAA) would have received the benefit of lessened restrictions.

This may seem like a small change, but it isn't.  As SB Nation's LGHL said on twitter, this interpretation essentially weaponizes early FAAs by creating incentive for the school to pressure recruits to sign FAAs with them versus someone else.  Recruits may still sign multiple FAAs to give themselves options, but this new limitation on the ability to skirt recruiting regulations means recruits have to be vary careful about the order in which they sign FAAs, if they plan to do it at all.

I'm not sure what prompted this change, which seems to address a problem that doesn't exist.  It's probably driven by a desire to keep other schools from talking to "your" commitments through FAAs, but that's a double-edged sword.  If the Hall situation had been different, for example, and Hall was committed to A&M but double-signed with us, would we not want the opportunity to potentially flip him?  You'd think so, but schools have been short-sighted before.