ROBBINSVILLE — High school football coaches in New Jersey now can be present when college coaches come into their buildings to recruit in the Spring.
The NJSIAA Executive Committee has approved a rule that would allow just that, a measure that brings the Garden State on a par with others around the nation.
Per NCAA rules, as part of the Spring recruiting period, college coaches are allowed a maximum of two visits to a potential recruit’s school, of one-hour each, between April 15th and May 31st. That’s the Spring Evaluation Process.
But New Jersey high school coaches, by NJSIAA rule, were not allowed to be involved in that process. Today’s approval eliminates that ban.
NJSIAA Assistant Director Jack DuBois says the move was made to give New Jersey coaches the same access during those visits as other coaches nationwide.
North Brunswick coach Mike Cipot had two players with major Power 5 offers on his team this past season in Myles Bailey (who’s headed to Central Michigan) and Leon Lowery (who signed with Syracuse), so he dealt with such visits on as high profile a scale as possible the past couple of years. He says college coaches, student-athletes and their high school coaches should have as open a relationship as possible.
“I would think, second to your siblings and your family, your high school coach is just as important,” Cipot says. “Sometimes during the season I see these kids more than my own kids.”
Immaculata Athletic Director Tom Gambino is of the same mindset.
“The coaches should be involved,” he says. “You know they have the best interest of their student-athletes. Especially in some schools where they don’t have the parental involvement like they do at Immaculata. The coaches are their parents. They’re making parental decisions for these kids.”
Cipot says being in the same room with one of his players and their recruiter can help those who maybe are on the reserved side. “Sometimes a kid might not be the most outspoken person, but you can help guide them,” says Cipot. “16-, 17-year-old kids, sometimes they don’t even know how to talk to an adult yet.”
“I think it’s long overdue,” says Carteret head coach Matt Yascko. “Our job is to promote our athletes as best we can. And then we’re behind all the other states because we don’t have Spring ball.”
Yascko says it’s also good in terms of getting the process out in the open. “Wouldn’t you rather have organized, supervised workouts going on as opposed to all the shady stuff that’s going on now?” he asked.