Now we know why Auburn coach Gene Chizik was so quick to distance himself from Tiger Prowl when asked about it Thursday on the SEC coaches’ teleconference.
It seemed odd at the time, but Chizik told reporters, “Tiger Prowl has nothing to do with recruiting.”
Of course, last year, it had everything to do with recruiting, as the Tigers created a stir around the league in the spring when most of their assistant coaches showed up at high schools around the state in limousines sporting Auburn flags and logos.
It was just one of the creative (and controversial) ideas the Tigers came up with to bolster recruiting. They also hosted the Big Cat Weekend, which eventually led to them reporting some secondary NCAA violations.
In the end, it all seemed to pay off. Auburn signed a class ranked No. 4 nationally by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
To clarify why Chizik was running as far as he could Thursday from Tiger Prowl, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors passed a rule that same day limiting the number of coaches to two that can visit a recruit in the same day during an evaluation period, as reported by Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald.
In particular, the rule targets coaches riding to schools in stretch Hummer limousines.
The rationale for the rule, according to the draft of the proposal that was approved by the NCAA Legislative Council on April 13 before it became final Thursday, specifically mentioned the use of limos and "extravagant buses."
It said the rule was needed because "multiple coaches are appearing at the high schools of the prospective student-athletes just as much to be seen as to actually conduct an evaluation. Many institutions are unnecessarily expending resources in order to have multiple assistant coaches attend these evaluations as a result of the perceived recruiting benefit."
Auburn has been using a bus with "Tiger Prowl" emblazoned on the sides this spring, but only for booster club events, Chizik noted.
However, the Auburn coaches did show up at Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., on Tuesday in a limousine. Georgia had six coaches there on Monday (but didn't splurge for the limo), and Florida State had four coaches there on Wednesday.
Given the recently passed rule, that many coaches visiting a school on the same day is now a no-no. And so are stretch limos.
The head coaches were already prohibited from going out on the road recruiting in the spring, a rule that has been dubbed the Nick Saban rule.
Now, we have the Tiger Prowl rule.
Rest assured that coaches will find other ways to push the envelope. If you're not in recruiting, then you're probably not trying hard enough, especially in the SEC where recruiting is akin to a steel-cage death match.