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NCAA Abandons Unlimited Contact Rule for Prospective Athletes

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors decided on Thursday to suspend a rule change that would have allowed college coaches to contact prospective recruits an unlimited number of times in high school.

Proposal 13-3, which would have eliminated restrictions on methods and modes of communication during recruiting, received the necessary 75 override votes from Division I schools to suspend it. The board initially adopted the proposal in January at the NCAA convention.

A number of coaches expressed their frustration at the time the board passed the unlimited contact proposal in January, saying it would lead to a recruiting free-for-all. Top recruits in certain sports could face hundreds of text messages from desperate college recruiters if the proposal went into effect, they argued.

"We are supportive of moving as aggressively as possible while still studying the issues with due diligence," said Board chairman Nathan Hatch, the president of Wake Forest University, in a statement. "It's important to make sure all the pieces of the recruiting model work together to make the most effective change in the culture."

The association initially made the move toward unlimited contract in recruiting via men's basketball back in the summer of 2012. The suspension of Proposal 13-3 does not affect men's and women's basketball; unlimited contact will still be allowed for prospects and coaches in those sports.

Back in late March, the board suspended two other previously adopted proposals regarding recruiting. One would have allowed other staff members beyond coaches and assistant coaches to contact prospective recruits, while the other would have lifted restrictions on what types of printed materials could be sent to recruits.

Academic Proposals Stymied, Too

Recruiting wasn't the only K-12 issue affected by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Thursday.

The board decided to indefinitely suspend the adoption of a higher academic sliding scale for incoming athletes, which was otherwise slated to begin in 2016. The NCAA uses the sliding scale to help determine whether an incoming freshman will be eligible for athletics.

The scale, found on the NCAA's website for academic reforms for recruits, mandates that a prospective athlete "earn a combined SAT or ACT score that matches [his/her] core-course GPA on a sliding scale," according to the website.

A student-athlete with a 2.5 GPA coming into college before 2016 only needs an SAT score of 820 to remain athletically eligible. Had the new sliding scale gone into effect, someone with a 2.5 GPA would need an SAT of 1000.

Incoming student-athletes with GPAs of 2.3, the lowest allowed by the NCAA starting in 2016, would need an SAT of 1080 to remain eligible under the suspended sliding scale.

In explaining the suspension of the higher sliding scale, the NCAA cited concerns about it inequitably affecting students of certain socio-economic classes and ethnic backgrounds.

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