New rules may affect NIU sports

By Carl Ackerman

A landslide of changes are expected in the near future for the athletic departments of many Division I Schools, including NIU.

The annual NCAA convention held last week approved numerous Division I rule changes supported by the NCAA Presidents Commission.

Some of the key issues that were brought up in the convention may have a substantial impact on NIU.

Cutting back recruiting by reducing the number of paid visits schools can offer and limiting the number of coaches who can recruit off campus and their phone calls.

Official visits to recruits for football programs would be reduced from 80 to 75. In basketball, it would be reduced from 18 to 15. This was primarily done to save money, however, it may hurt schools in rural or isolated areas which must spend an official visit just to make contact with a recruit.

Also, the length of recruiting time each year would be cut from four to three months. In addition, only seven coaches are allowed to recruit off campus instead of the usual nine. Basketball will be limited to two, and other sports will be limited to two or just one recruiting coach.

Reducing scholarships by 10 percent across the board. Scholarships will be reduced from 95 to 85 in football and from 15 to 13 in basketball.

This is expected to greatly help the athletic programs balance their budgets, but it may also limit opportunities for students athletes.

Some programs are calling the 10-percent cut discriminatory towards women. Female athletes receive only 33 percent of all scholarships, and many administrators say cutting equally when inequality exists is a discriminatory act.

Reducing the coaching staffs from five to four in basketball and from an average of 16 to 13 in football.

This is also expected to reduce several expenses, but the quality of coaching may diminish just as fast.

Reducing practices to 20 hours per week and limitations in the number of games.

The idea of this is to give the student-athletes more time to be students, but some of the smaller sports may suffer. For example, gymnasts and swimmers need more practice time for participants to excel.

Increasing requirements for schools to be classified as Division I-A, which includes scheduling nearly all games against Division I opponents.

Abolishing athlete-only dormitories by Aug. 1, 1996.

Restricting athletes to one training-table meal a day, starting in August 1996.