AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn will have to keep the limos in the garage next year.
The NCAA passed legislation Thursday night that prevents more than two assistant football coaches from visiting a high school in one day during the spring evaluation period, according to report in the Athens Banner-Herald.
The measure, effective immediately, is aimed at preventing the all-out recruiting blitz employed by Auburn and several other schools.
The spring evaluation period is for college coaches to gather information on prospective recruits from high school coaches, administrators and guidance counselors. College coaches are not allowed to make contact with the high school players during that time.
But Auburn has created a buzz the past two years with the controversial tactic of sending its assistants en masse to high schools in and around Alabama in stretch Hummer limousines.
The NCAA legislation says such actions are “just as much to be seen as to actually conduct an evaluation,” concluding that schools are “unnecessarily expending resources in order to have multiple assistant coaches attend these evaluations as a result of the perceived recruiting benefit.”
The measure mentions the use of limousines and “extravagant buses.” Although Auburn used a decorated bus for fundraising rallies this spring, it did not send it to schools on recruiting trips.
Other schools, although less flashy, have followed Auburn’s lead, and Carver High, home of highly touted recruits Gabe Wright and Isaiah Crowell, has been the center of attention.
Georgia sent six assistants to Carver on Monday. After Auburn sent six Tuesday, Florida State arrived with four Wednesday.
On Thursday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik distanced himself from the “Tiger Prowl” phrase Auburn has used to describe its evaluation forays the last two springs.
He said “Tiger Prowl” had “nothing to do with recruiting” during an SEC teleconference, drawing a distinct line between Auburn’s recruiting efforts in the morning and fundraising events — what he called the actual “Tiger Prowl” — at night. Auburn used the large bus painted in team colors and emblazoned with logos at the fundraising events.
Chizik said he is unsure what effect the limousines and the en masse approach had on Auburn’s recruiting.
In February, after his first full year of recruiting on the Plains, Chizik and his staff landed a consensus top-five class. The Tigers have secured commitments for 2011 from three highly rated offense linemen: Spencer Region, Thomas O’Reilly and Reese Dismukes.
“We like to think that there are some things that we did that added to the success of the recruiting class,” Chizik said, “but, at the end of the day, it’s about relationships and about how hard you work to get young men and convince them this is the best place for them and their families.”