Saban, Zook push recruiting boundaries

While Tommy Tuberville hunts, other coaches are busy recruiting. Nick Saban is chatting via web cam, and Ron Zook is on the road at coaching clinics.

So far, the NCAA sees the web cam conversations as good thing—or at least it meets the spirit of the rule change. The NCAA was quoted in the Washington Post this morning saying:

“You go back to the intent of pulling head coaches off the road — one part of that is the disruption [caused by having a famous coach in a high school] and part is the coach’s time,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of membership services. “If you think about a Web cam and how you set that up, it is less disruptive. It is a type of phone call. It is something you can do on campus.”

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Saban told the Tuscaloosa News the innovation was an answer to a new situation created by new times:

‘These are new circumstances, a new time, so we came up with a new solution,’ Saban said. ‘I enjoyed going out to see prospects.’

Saban said that when he left Michigan State to take over the program at LSU, he took advantage of the spring training rules for schools in Louisiana and visited prospects extensively.

‘I went to see the five or six best players at every position,’ he said. ‘I was like the cross-checker for our staff. I also thought that was part of what we needed to do to promote high school football and show the players that what they did was important.

‘The video-conferencing came up because it was something we’d used in Miami [with the NFL’s Dolphins].’

He explained that he used the technology to confer with doctors regarding a player’s medical condition.

Ron Zook’s coaching clinics are getting a different reaction. Apparently, one PAC-10 official views Zook’s clinics as violating the spirit of the law:

“It seems like it’s sort of a way to get around this no-evaluation rule in the spring,” said Jim Muldoon, associate commissioner for the Pacific-10 Conference. “Our rules expert here thinks if this is something that becomes common, the NCAA may interpret it as saying this is not permissible.”

The Post doesn’t quote a Big Ten official, but it would be interesting to know what rivals think of Zook’s recruiting efforts.