Head coaches missing out on evaluation period


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The football offices at the University of Florida looked like a ghost town on Tuesday afternoon. Pretty much all of the Gators assistant coaches were out on the road recruiting. There were a handful of staff members and head coach Jim McElwain hanging around the offices.

College football is in the middle of the Spring Evaluation Period which runs through May 31. The evaluation period allows for programs to have 168 evaluation days combined to use during this period. Assistant coaches are allowed to visit recruits to assess academic and athletic qualifications, but for some reason the NCAA does not allow head coaches to be part of the off-campus evaluation process.

Florida’s new head coach openly admits he would much rather be evaluating talent that ultimately could determine his future, as opposed to sitting in his office and touring around the state speaking at Gator Clubs. Being new to Florida, McElwain said this would be a great time to get out and make inroads in high schools around the Sunshine State.

“Absolutely I believe coaches should be allowed to be out there. It’s twofold because it’s an opportunity for us to actually go out and promote the game of football,” McElwain said. "With us, in particular, in this state it would be great to be able to get out and be able to see these guys work out and visit with teachers, counselors, principals, people within the school itself and get to know a little bit about these guys. I’d sure like to be out there. Nothing against talking to you, but I’d much rather be out there.”

While other leagues are allowed to have satellite camps at other schools to evaluate prospects, the SEC does not permit the holding of camps at other universities. So for now McElwain, and other SEC head coaches, can evaluate a prospects skill set only from watching film, summer camp (at their own university) and in the fall when they are allowed to attend games.

It might seem like a small rule, but in this day and age, coaches are given a short window to succeed and can’t afford to miss on a prospect because they didn’t have enough time to evaluate him thoroughly.