CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen burned some vacation time last week. He was able to get away and spend time with his kids.Meanwhile, his assistants were working on recruiting and many of his players have been back in Morgantown and in school for a couple weeks.Sounds all hunky dory, right?Not in Holgorsen's mind."We're doing good," said the Mountaineer coach. "But the hardest thing is, once spring practice is over, coaches and players disconnect."Coaches recruit. I'm fundraising. I'll be in Charleston [Thursday and Friday] for the WVU Classic. I had my vacation. But we can't do anything with the players."Holgorsen said a team meeting was held the week prior "to welcome in a couple guys and say, 'This is what summer is about.' " Otherwise, not much.The WVU coach, however, has very strong feelings about that summer "disconnect," and he's not alone. Legendary ex-Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has complained about it. Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he doesn't believe "we have as much access as we need to have during the summer."That's because little access is allowed, according to NCAA rules. Strength and conditioning coaches can oversee voluntary offseason workouts and passing drills for safety reasons, but coaches are out of the mix.
"There's really not a lot we can do," Holgorsen said. "It's a flaw in the system. We're paying for [players'] summer classes. We're spending all this money on them, but we can't do anything."Basketball had the problem, but fixed it."Indeed, it did. See rule 18.104.22.168.1.1.4. Last summer hoops coaches were allowed limited time to interact with players. For up to two hours per day - and up to eight hours per week - coaches could work with their players, including incoming freshmen, in varying ways.Old NCAA rules prohibited hoops coaches from providing instruction during the summer, and any summer activities, including strength and conditioning work, were voluntary. Under the rule, players either have to be enrolled in summer school or be in good academic standing (2.2 grade-point average or better) in order to practice if not in summer school.
That has been extended to women's basketball. Football, though, has a standing rule of nine consecutive weeks (between the conclusion of the academic year and the reporting date for preseason practice) of strictly summer conditioning. In other words, Holgorsen and his staff give way to conditioning coach Mike Joseph for that entire period. And Joseph and his staff must take one of those weeks off."In the winter term - January, February, March - we do have an 8-hour rule," Holgorsen said. "Two of which can be film. That's great. I'd love to see that in the summer."
There are a couple reasons. One, which Holgorsen didn't mention, is to keep an eye on players. The rule insisting on nine weeks away from coaches has good intentions - to give the kids a break - but also allows much freedom to, well, do something stupid.Most coaches want to be able to monitor not only players' actions, but academic progress, etc.Holgorsen, though, wants the rule for a more basic reason."Because we can't see them in the summer, we can't spend time with them," said the coach. "It's hard to have any relationships."He says there's a two-step process to solving the problem."Get with the NCAA," he said. "And talk."
Sounds like a plan.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.