AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds says the Longhorns football program was 'singled out' by a new NCAA rule that drastically limits recruiting by defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, the Longhorns' head-coach-in-waiting.
The rule states assistants "publicly designated" to be the next head coach are now bound by the same recruiting rules as the current head coach. That means Muschamp can make only one off-campus visit with a prospect and it can't be during the critical spring evaluation period of April 15-May 31. Other assistants can have multiple off-campus visits.
The only other major college football program impacted by the rule is Maryland, where offensive coordinator James Franklin has been designated to succeed Ralph Friedgen.
"Obviously, since this legislation impacts only two programs in the country, we feel we are being singled out," said Dodds, who first spoke to Orangebloods.com about the rule and later released a prepared statement Wednesday.
"We are exploring our options for legislative relief within the NCAA process, since we believe this places our program at a direct disadvantage. Will is our head coach-in-waiting but he is also our defensive coordinator, and this legislation restricts his ability to perform his current job duties," Dodds said.
Texas could try to have the rule changed at the next NCAA meeting in April. An NCAA spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message.
Texas announced in November 2008 that Muschamp was in line to eventually replace Mack Brown. The recruiting rule change was proposed by the Big East conference in June 2009. It was approved at the NCAA convention last month, about two weeks before the Feb. 3 national signing day.
Texas officials said Muschamp adhered to the new rule in the final days before the Longhorns signed a recruiting class experts rated among the best in the country.
Texas is now concerned about the upcoming spring recruiting window when Muschamp, one of Texas' best and most aggressive recruiters, will be confined to campus.
The rule change was supported at the convention by the football issues committee. The rationale was that recruiting by a "head coach in waiting" creates a competitive advantage for a program at a time when the NCAA has moved to curb off-campus recruiting by head coaches.
The change was not supported by the NCAA's recruiting cabinet, which noted that designating an assistant as a future head coach is likely to happen several years before the coach is promoted.