Herman, others weigh in on effects of new spring official visits
Tom Herman doesn’t have a problem with spring official visits as a concept. He doesn’t detest them and he’s certainly not pounding the table demanding that the NCAA do away with the new bylaw that allows them. Instead, there’s some level of nuance in play.
But, at the same time, if the rule accidentally vanished into the ocean with a few 50-pound weights tied to its ankles, the Texas coach wouldn’t shed many tears.
“It’s difficult, obviously, to thrust what basically amounts to 12 more weekends of possible official visits on us,” he said of his first bout with the Spring official visits, which were allowed for the first time this year.
Herman’s concerns are many and they aren’t all selfish. He notes the fact that the current college players are now expected to host recruits more often, taking up more of their free time on weekends. He talks about the extra strain on his staff and rule’s effect on spring practice. Maybe his most notable beef, however, is the way in which the bylaw was first explained.
According to Herman, the idea of spring official visits was tossed at coaches like a hard, late-breaking slider. And if things went down the way Herman says they did, his gripe is legitimate.
“The rule was passed and none of us really understood it. I don’t think we really knew that the 56 official visits we get -- the ones we used last fall and in the winter, were going to be counted into this year’s limit because it’s a school year thing. They count up the school year. So, to be honest, we only have 11 official visits lift that we can even bring kids in on for the spring and summer.”
Current recruits, on the other hand, are in the camp opposite the Texas head coach. Rivals250 linebacker Osita Ekwonu took an official visit to Notre Dame in April. His take on situation comes from a different perspective than Herman’s. From where Ekwonu stands, it’s hard to see a drawback.
Somebody gets the short end of every stick. And If spring official visits were implemented with recruits in mind, the new wrinkle to the NCAA rulebook is doing its job … even if it might at the expense of coaches and current college players. This room, like all rooms, looks different depending on the chair in which one sits.
"I feel like I got more out of it,” Ekwonu said. “I had a lot of one-on-one meetings with the coaches. I got to talk to with some of the players as well so I think it was definitely a better experience overall than compared to a game day atmosphere because the coaches were more relaxed and they talk to you and spend one-on-one time with you and the players spend time with you as well."
Then, there’s the school of thought that wonders if spring visits will be a waste of sorts. Obviously, no date on players that sign with schools they visited in the spring exists in the first year of the rule, but people are already wondering.
In an era of commitment flips and late announcements, recency bias is a real concern. And it’s one Herman and his colleagues have already given plenty of thought when it comes to how many of those 56 official visits they plan to keep in their pocket for next spring.
“This is eight months from the first Signing Day and 10 months from the second Signing Day. So we feel, with our in-state kids – that we can bring them in during the spring, but we also have to get them here in the summer and for games.”
But again, perspective means everything. What’s good for coaches isn’t necessarily good for prospects. The two groups stand in contrast and continue to rightfully look out for No. 1.
“I think it just depends where your head is really at,” said Rivals250 defensive back Marquis Wilson, who took an official to Penn State this spring. “You have to be honest with yourself. If you plan on committing before the season and staying committed, like me, it’s best to do it in the spring and get that on-campus feel. If not …”