More criticism of ‘Saban Rule’

Another coach has joined the growing chorus of complaints about the ‘Saban Rule’. WVU coach Bill Stewart thinks the new rule stinks, according to

The purpose of the rule was to punish hard-working, well-known coaches like Nick Saban or Pete Carroll. The result was to hurt lower profile coaches too.

It’s one thing if Jim Bob Goober, the linebackers coach, goes into a school. He generally doesn’t draw that much attention. …

And as a result, Bill Stewart – who will freely admit he’s a lot closer in profile to Jim Bob Goober than to Nick Saban – can’t even drive across town and talk to Morgantown coach John Bowers or University’s John Kelley about a player or two. Nor can he fly to Virginia Beach or Florida or Alabama and do the same.

“It’s all about the glitter and the so-called stars out there,” Stewart said, referring to any number of high-profile head coaches whose popularity borders on rock star status in some football-crazy places. “Most of us aren’t like that.”

Stewart thinks the rule is bad, but the most vocal critic has been USC’s Carroll.

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The LA Times has reported Carroll feels trapped or caged by the rule change. He is shackled to his desk instead of hitting the road.

Nevertheless, he was left to fidget, begrudgingly take vacation and throw trademark elbows during campus basketball games while awaiting updates from assistants.

The Trojans staff is reconvening this week to review film and share impressions with Carroll, but the head coach laments, “It’s not the same as being out there.”

In the months before each of his first seven seasons at USC, Carroll’s mission – his passion, really – was traveling nonstop during May, hop-scotching to dozens of high schools in Southern California and across the nation, meeting with coaches, shaking hands and chatting up school personnel and evaluating prospects.

Like most rules, this one has unintended consequences. Saban innovated by making a webcam a recruiting tool, and not just something for online porn. What will come next?

Many, though, are using the time to pay more attention to the players they already have in school.

Doesn’t that make Saban more dangerous? Many of his critics (ie: Auburn fans) claim he does a poor job coaching, especially on game day. More time developing players, watching film and game planning should strengthen Saban as a “coach”. And as the video conferencing taught rivals, you don’t want to give Saban time to innovate—because he can and he will.