The Last July?

This past Sunday marked the end of the July “D1 Live Period,” a brand new format this year that spanned three consecutive Wednesday-Sunday periods for a total of 15 days, down from 20 days in July a year ago. There was also an open period in April, back again after a several year hiatus, giving coaches the same amount of days to see prospects that they had the prior three years. This time, it was just in a different format.

On paper, the new recruiting schedule seemed like a good thing. On paper, players would have Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday to regroup and coaches could get back to campus on those days as well.

On paper Godfather III was a good idea too.

The reality is that this may have been the most difficult July in history for Division 1 college coaches. The number of showcase events did not diminish and with only 15 days to be on the road, coaches were crisscrossing the country to multiple events on the same weekend to see and be seen.

At every event, the tweets regarding who is on the sidelines puts pressure on coaches to be there or fall behind in the recruiting process. One high major coach head coach was sharing in confidence with me the number of negative comments he was receiving for not being able to see a specific recruit play at a specific event. That player’s “camp” was questioning how serious the coach and the program were on the player. The recruiting process has now become public thanks to social media and this led to a number of coaches going without sleep for two-day stretches and appearing like walking zombies in gyms after taking red-eyes nationwide.

Adding into the madness for the coaching staffs was something they were asking for – the ability to work with their players during the offseason. The NCAA finally granted after many years of prodding by the NABC. Now schools can work with their own players for a total of two hours per week. Fitting in the two hours during July has been a challenge for many programs. Mondays and Tuesdays have been the only non-travel days available. If you are like some programs which have the entire staff working with the players during the permissible window, you now have that staff “on” for the entire week.

There is hope that the addition of the two-hour weekly individual work will stem the recent transfer epidemic, which has surpassed four hundred Division 1 student athletes per year.

The July stretch for the college coach has been unforgiving and in everyone’s conscious is the passing of the late great, Skip Prosser, who died on-the-road five years ago. Look for strong opposition to come from established power conference coaches to the continuation of the July recruiting calendar as it was this summer.

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  • WildcatSportsReport

    Gary Randazzo

    Great article, Leigh. You talk about the pressure the coaches felt, and I'd add that the pressure on the head coach to be seen was even more so. When you get into the top 30 recruits per class, often it's the head coach taking more of a lead in the player recruitment since these "elite" guys are more and more demanding to talk to the head coach as much as the assistant that's leading the player recruitment. To your point, in past years the simple fact of getting a coach from your staff to sit in the stands and make your school's presence felt at a recruit's game has been replaced with players wanting to see the head coach in the stands at their games. This July, the new format and no change to the AAU events (except to pack them all in on the same days) made it nearly impossible for most head coaches to be where they needed to be at all times.

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

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