Just go ahead and call it the Lane Kiffin Rule: coaches who commit NCAA secondary violations in the name of recruiting can now face suspensions of up to two games . The days of head coaches willingly pushing the proverbial envelope and collecting slaps on the wrist like so many Pokemon sound like they may be over:
The NCAA does make clear that being found guilty of a secondary violation doesn't trigger an automatic suspension, and that "punishment could depend on the circumstances"; the coach or program who slips up somewhere once probably won't get anything more than the usual reprimand.
"This is our request: Anything that has to do with recruiting, if there's a proven violation, we want the ability for the NCAA to say this will cost you a week or a maximum of two weeks," [American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant] Teaff said."We as an association asked for that, and they granted that.
"We think that's a major step forward."
But some coaches -- like Kiffin during his abbreviated stay at Tennessee -- have seemed to treat the secondary violation as more bureaucratic annoyance than legitimate deterrent. This change is likely aimed at curbing those kinds of serial offenders, or the more obvious, flagrant violations, like recruits-running-out-of-the-tunnel gameday simulations.
NCAA punishments have often sounded imposing on paper and been toothless in practice; waivers for BCS schools running afoul of the annual APR requirements have been so rampant they may as well be automatic. But more than one coach complained anonymously in the media after incidents like Auburn's 2009 impromptu recruiting pep rally , and Teaff at least sounds serious. (The NCAA might even have an immediate test case at Arkansas after this photograph surfaced this week. Does dressing recruits up in Hog jerseys and letting them visit personalized lockers in the Hog locker room count as a gameday situation?) The rank-and-file in the AFCA may be tired of seeing the Kiffins of the world benefit while those that toe the line lose out.
So whether this will actually be a brave new world for recruiting violations and punishments remains to be seen. But there's little doubt it will be a development worth watching as Signing Day approaches.