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Dear football mom: Will NCAA change the rules?
Helmet Kisses

By Candy A. Westbrook

Dear Football Mom

Do you think the NCAA will change the rules allowing college players to follow their coaches to another team, even though the player has been with his current team for a few seasons? How can coaches who leave to pursue other programs take their players with them? This may apply to our son. What are we in for with this ruling?   

Dear Reader,

Oh goodness, maybe a big ol’ mess! A great question. But a technical one, at that. Remember, I’m just the heart behind the gridiron. My Ph.D. earned at The University of Mama and the crazy calamities associated with college football left me, at times, more mystified than enlightened. This could be the perfect example. 

If ever there was a funky business, college football is it. The times, they are a-changing. I believe the ruling “Notification-of-Transfer” has already passed but won’t be in effect until October.

I just read a few different opinions on this, but not sure I could add much to legal jargon, if that’s what you’re looking for. But, as always, I try to bring it down to the players and their lives and how they are touched by such things.  

The dry rub is this: When a player is recruited by a certain coach — especially a position coach they’ve bonded with and developed a good working relationship together — then that coach leaves for another program, it effects the kid left behind more than what is seen sitting in the stands. The player may or may not take a liking to his new coach and, hello, his playing quality drops a notch. 

This ruling allows the player, more than ever before, the flexibility to follow his coach to a new program. That’s not a bad thing. The ruling also provides a more transparent process with universities and their coaches. Not a bad thing either.

The slippery sauce is this: It will more than likely affect highly sought-after recruits and major NCAA conferences. Top programs vied for a proviso to implement their own rules that, in the end, could be more restrictive than the national ruling. 

It all boils down to “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” because of past sneaky recruiting tactics used by the big boys. This will appease college coaches, as their worst nightmare of illegal recruiting could rise. Yep. Who knew? The competitiveness between programs can be as fierce as two wild mountain lions fighting for the same piece of red meat.

Two things to remember about college coaches: They are always looking for the next star and will do almost anything to lasso that luminous sphere. And they almost always have their fingers in the same cookie jar, on the same countertop, fighting for the same cookie — all at the same time. 

If your son chooses to leave and follow his coach, have him inform his school as they will be obligated to enter his name in a national transfer database in a timely manner. Once an athlete’s name goes in, any coach can contact him.

I think it wise to make sure your son has talked to the coach he wants to follow, and doesn’t hop on a chuck wagon (new program) that could have a few pots and pans missing. There is a reason his coach was hired at the new program, which may or may not put the cayenne pepper in the rub.  

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Dear Football Mom,

We are heartbroken. We missed the deadline, due to a family illness, to sign our 10-year-old son up for peewee football this year. What should we do to get them to allow for this overlooked mistake, while we were taking care of an elder in another state? It really doesn’t seem fair.

Dear Reader,

I usually don’t say this, but I tend to agree. It doesn’t seem fair. 

If you haven’t already, I suggest talking to the president of your association. Maybe take it to a vote with the board. Or perhaps check out another organization. Something I rarely recommend, but when folks can’t understand the situation, or extend a little grace (for reasons we are unaware of) because it sure sounds like you did the right thing by taking care of your kinfolk. So sometimes, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. 

You may have to drive a-ways to this new team’s location. But who knows? You might just find a better fit for your son. It could turn out to be what I call “A Goldilocks!” It’s just right.  

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