NCAA Will Not Alter Coaching Staff Limits This Season

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The NCAA Transformation Committee’s concept to remove the policy limiting the number of coaches on a football staff will not be finalized by August, Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio director of athletics Julie Cromer, co-chairs of the committee, told Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.

“We have issues that have lingered for decades,” Sankey said. “It would be unwise to just flip a switch on some issues in August when you’re going into a competitive season.”

As reported by Ross Dellenger of SI, the Transformation Committee is in the fifth month of what is expected to be a yearlong process to overhaul NCAA policy and governance structure. It plans to lift decades-old rules around cost containment and legislating competitive equity in light of antitrust legal concerns raised from the Supreme Court’s Alston ruling last summer.

In April, committee leaders first shared concepts with athletic directors in Dallas, which included controversial moves that would eliminate number caps for coaches on a staff and scholarships offered to athletes on specific teams, allowing such limits to be determined by schools and/or conferences.

As previously reported by SI, those concepts were unfinished and were weeks  — if not months — away from finalization. If the concepts are approved at all, Sankey and Cromer say they will be part of the latter half of a two-part process: the first wave of approvals coming in August and the second coming in January. After reports surfaced that the elimination of coaching and scholarship limitations would come in the first wave, coaches stirred, and some believed their staffs would immediately grow.

“I don’t think it’s a delay. It was out there publicly before we would have put it out there,” Sankey said. “When outlets report things, they are not always accurate.”

Football staffs are limited to one head coach and 10 assistants who can work with players in hands-on roles. Conceivably, lifting the restriction would open the door for an unlimited number of coaches to work with players and roam the sidelines in different roles. Cromer says the staff limitation concept is connected to the committee’s ongoing study of the year-round recruiting calendar, which is expected to be streamlined.

“The two will be done together,” Cromer said.

As for the scholarship concept, officials are contemplating removing limitations on at least equivalency sports (sports, such as many Olympic sports, with partial scholarships). For example, the maximum number of scholarships allowed in baseball is 11.7 for a roster of 35 — a figure often criticized by high-level, baseball-playing schools from rich conferences that want to spend more. Under the transformation’s concept, a school could conceivably offer 35, SI reported.

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