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NCAA Issues New 'Saban Rule' for Competitive Balance

The game is getting out of hand, and we simply must restore competitive balance!

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

After an emergency remote proxy vote, the leadership of the NCAA has ratified a new rule designed to cut down on unfair recruiting advantages. The regulation, the eighth bearing the name of Nick Saban, is designed to counteract the growing divide between college football's Haves, Used-to-Haves and Have-Nots.

"It really got unbearable in the last year or two, and we had to do something," said a university president close to the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It seemed as though every single five-star recruit was gushing on and on about Alabama."

Indeed, there have been a host of articles regarding just how "NFL-ready" players are after finishing their careers in Tuscaloosa. "It's bad enough that the media keeps writing about it, but now the recruits are openly talking about it in interviews, as though they've been coached to say it," said a different system chancellor who wished to remain unidentified.

A third administrator chimed in: "It would be a different story if we heard more about how many of those kids leave early for the draft, with both remaining eligibility a diploma -- but the idea that the only place you can become 'NFL-ready' is at Bama is a dangerous meme."

The rule, known in enforcement circles as "Saban-2013-8.b," restricts the following:
  • College coaches may entertain no more than three questions from journalists during the early signing period, pertaining to the "NFL-readiness" of their programs
  • Journalists are prohibited from including the phrase "NFL ready" (or its hyphenated alternate spelling, see subsection f2) in more than three columns or videos per season -- and such references are forbidden in any headlines, teasers or segment promotions.
  • Restrictions on players:
    • Current players are prohibited from talking with recruits about the complexity of their system, and the quality of their coaching
    • Current recruits could be saddled with a secondary violation for verbalizing such, as it is an unfair reminder to uncommitted and/or unsigned players
    • Alumni in the NFL are restricted from talking about how their current playbooks and schemes are easier to learn than the ones they used in college
  • Beat writers for NFL teams could be tagged as "Boosters" for remarks or observations about how quickly players are "picking up the system and adjusting to the league."
NCAA President Mark Emmert said these rules will begin to be strictly enforced with the start of the season. "If they don't have an appreciable impact on restoring competitive balance to the game, we may have to take further steps, such as banning the mention of member institutions during the NFL Draft. The parade of early picks from certain schools and conferences are becoming a de facto commercial for those institutions, and are not healthy for the game."