University of Iowa president Sally Mason said Monday that no dollars outside of athletics would be used to fund any increased football recruiting expenses incurred by recent NCAA bylaw changes.
The decisions in late January allow the hiring of new, recruiting-specific staff members and lifts limitations on the frequency and sophistication of mailings to potential players.
The impact: Millions of dollars could be spent by programs scrambling to keep pace with the nation’s most financially secure and elite.
Mason said the athletic department will be solely responsible for footing the new — and potentially sizable — bills.
“They’re going to have to earn their own keep, for starters — and they know that,” Mason said during an interview with Des Moines Register editors and reporters. “It’s not going to be done simply because they want to or feel that they need to.”
When asked if she envisioned a scenario where non-athletic dollars could be used, Mason clarified.
“No,” Mason said. “They’re going to have to find ways to gather those resources. I’ll do what I can to help, (though,) without a doubt.”
The changes voted on at the NCAA’s annual convention last month in Grapevine, Texas, have rocked the college football world.
The Big Ten Conference issued a statement on Monday, shortly after Mason spoke, relaying concerns about the moves — some of which are scheduled to go into effect as soon as July 1. In addition to increased costs for staff and mailings, the bylaws lift limits on the frequency and periods recruiting staff can contact potential players.
Many argue that it could mean the most talented players will receive calls and texts all day and all night without end.
“We have serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches,” the statement from Big Ten coaches and athletic directors stated. “We are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources.”
Last week, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz compared the impact to the financial haves and have-nots in professional baseball.
“My fear, in simplistic terms, would be that, I hate to see college football or college athletics become Major League Baseball — with all respect to Major League Baseball,” Ferentz said. The Yankees start in the inside lane every year. They have the biggest payroll, so they get to start on the inside lane.”
Former college coach Gerry DiNardo, a Big Ten Network analyst, called the NCAA decisions “ridiculous.”
“You have to have money just go get a seat at the table,” DiNardo said of the pressure for programs to spend more to land top talent. “That doesn’t mean you’ll win anything, that just means you’ll be able to play.”
Strain and stress will land with coaches, too, who would see recruiting breaks such as “quiet periods” and “dead periods” vanish, meaning recruiting will become a non-stop business — and a more expensive one at that.
“I look at our football program, I look at our athletic director and I look at our football coaches — these are good people,” Mason said. “These are people that I think have the right aims and goals in mind and they have difficult jobs to do.
“I suspect that these changes in the rules will make their jobs more challenging.”
MASON: ACC MOVES PUT FIRE UNDER BIG TEN
Iowa president Sally Mason said moves by the Atlantic Coast Conference to change its membership caused the Big Ten Conference to eventually add Rutgers and Maryland.
Mason said the move of one conference sparked the other by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
“I would tell you very candidly that this last round was triggered by the ACC,” she said. “The uncertainties and the ways in which the ACC was moving, in regard to expansion, led Jim to look very carefully at where we were and where we might end up — four, five, 10, 15 years down the road.
“That’s what drove expansion at that point. Things are quiet for the moment.”
Could more expansion loom on the horizon?
“At this point and time, like I say, we’re all pretty comfortable where we’re at,” Mason said. “What happens in the future, is anybody’s guess.”
IOWA RE-EXAMINES MEDIA’S ACCESS
Media struggles to directly ask questions of department-level decision makers at the University of Iowa will be addressed, Iowa president Sally Mason said Monday.
The Register attempted to a range of people after the resignation of Peter Gray, an athletic department student adviser, after concerns of inappropriate conduct.
The Register made multiple attempts to reach sexual misconduct response coordinator Monique DiCarlo, university attorney Caroll Reasoner, members of two other departments, and Mason herself, as it sought answers on procedures related to student well-being.
No one returned those calls — other than representatives of the university’s public relations department.
The situation and others launched calls for openness from state regents and Gov. Terry Branstad.
“After December, I decided: That’s not working,” Mason said. “We have got to do a better job of communicating with you all (media), communicating with Iowans, being more transparent.
“… It isn’t a general rule, but we do try to filter everything through a single source so we know where it’s going. Now, you should be able to talk to other people, though, and get channeled out to people who can answer your questions appropriately.”
When it was mentioned that those steps failed to occur, Mason added: “That’s where I think we can make some big improvements.”