On Monday, the Big Ten coaches tried to throw up the stop sign on the NCAA’s new relaxation of recruiting rules. On Tuesday, Alabama ran right through that stop sign, rounded third, and headed for home with the hiring of a former Nebraska assistant.
According to CoachingSearch.com, Alabama is set to hire Kevin Steele in a “player personnel role.” He didn’t coach in 2012, and last held the position of defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2009 to 2011. Steele also had stops along the way at Florida State, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Tennessee but Nebraska fans likely remember him as Tom Osborne’s linebackers coach from 1989 to 1994.
Perhaps most famously, Steele was the guy who won an intense recruiting battle for Tommie Frazier. Winning recruiting battles is what Steele will likely be asked to replicate for the Crimson Tide.
This is one of the provisions of the new recruiting rules. Coaches aren’t the only people who can contact recruits under the new system which creates an entirely new expectation for a school’s support staff. It also opens up a de facto second career for coaches who have proven to be excellent recruiters but, as seemed to have happened with Steele, may be losing some of their appeal as actual position coaches.
It was assumed that schools would look to hire a de facto recruiting staff, but nobody had made the first move yet. Of course it was Alabama that did it. Of course it came a day after the Big Ten tried to pump the brakes on the whole idea.
Was there any other way?