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NCAA Recruiting Controversy: The Riley Nelson Rule?

An interesting tidbit came out from the WAC, with the conference submitting and getting approval for a new rule regarding athletes who go on religious missions.

This is quite obvious why the WAC put the rule up for submissions, or if you read between the lines it was Utah State.

The Aggies, depending on who you believe, were raided by BYU to get Parade All-American and Mr. Football in Utah during the 2005 season.

BYU faithful believe that Nelson inquired about transferring, but that will never be found out.

Below is the wording of the rule from the NCAA:

“Official Church Mission. An institution shall not contact a student-athlete who has begun service on an official church mission without obtaining permission from the institution from which the student-athlete withdrew prior to beginning his or her mission if the student-athlete signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and attended the institution (with which he or she signed the NLI) as a full-time student.

If such a student-athlete has completed his or her official church mission and does not enroll full time in a collegiate institution within one calendar year of completion of the mission, an institution may contact the student-athlete without obtaining permission from the first institution.”

Basically if an athlete goes to school for a year and then goes on his mission, any opposing school will need consent from his original school, or wait three years (unlikely by the way).

Oh and that third year the student-athlete may not even be enrolled in their school where they chose to play, again very unlikely.

There is a fun loophole that was discovered, and is  in this quote:

“An institution shall not contact a student-athlete who has begun service on an official church mission without obtaining permission from the institution from which the student-athlete withdrew prior to beginning his or her mission…”

Look at the bold section, now I could be wrong, but this wording makes it sound like that the athlete must be withdrawn from their school prior to their mission.

So, what if the player goes on a mission prior to enrolling, which is common, thus technically the athlete never had the chance to withdraw from said institution.  Withdrawing from a school means they must be registered for classes.

This rule I personally like, because even though defections are few in far between, but the school is confident that their will not be illegal contact.

Contacting a player under this rule without permission is similar to contacting a player from another school, while the student is there.  That would be a recruiting violation of some kind.

Again, this rule will affect few schools and athletes, and the rule goes into affect, so BYU will not be able to have contact with stud linebacker Manti Te’o if he decides to leave Notre Dame for a church mission (kidding).

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One Response

  1. […] from The Mountain West Conference Connection chimes in with a great post on what some are calling the “Riley Nelson Rule”, which could end up becoming an issue with the increasing number of LDS and Polynesian recruits we […]

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