Originally created 03/27/04

Tennessee OK with curfew, adding parents on official visits



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coaches would support the NCAA imposing a curfew for prospects on official visits and allowing schools to also host recruits' parents.

Athletic director Mike Hamilton met with the coaches this week to discuss the possible changes the NCAA may make in recruiting guidelines this year.

The NCAA formed a task force to make recommendations in response to recruiting scandals at Colorado and Miami. Colorado is investigating whether football recruits were promised sex, enticed with strippers and taken to off-campus parties.

The Division I Management Council was scheduled to vote on new rules next month.

Hamilton forwarded Tennessee's opinions and ideas to Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who is a member of the task force.

"We will now wait to see what comes out of the NCAA and obviously adjust to those standards and be prepared for that for the next recruiting season," Hamilton said Friday.

Tennessee coaches would be receptive to decreasing the number of official visits prospects take to schools from five to four in football and instituting a national curfew for the prospects when they are visiting, Hamilton said.

Although it would mean spending more money, Tennessee would like to invite parents or guardians to join prospects on official visits.

Coach Phillip Fulmer suggested taking away one week of recruiting on the road and using the savings to pay for the parents' visit, Hamilton said.

"The benefit of having a parent or guardian is such that any dollars saved to bring them in would be ultimately to the student-athlete's benefit and the institution's benefit," Hamilton said.

The NCAA is also concerned about lavish hotel rooms and meals offered to recruits.

Tennessee would be willing to take recruits to the cafeteria on campus instead of restaurants and would favor rules on the kind of hotel rooms schools get for recruits, Hamilton said.

"We would like to see standardized rooms, not using suites with Jacuzzis (but) the type rooms that a student-athlete will be staying in when they travel with our teams on the road," Hamilton said.

Currently, Tennessee puts up recruits at the downtown Marriott, and a staff member stays on the hall with them.

Tennessee wants to keep its Vol hostesses, a program similar to many schools in the Southeastern Conference and beyond. The football program had 64 female students serve as hostesses to recruits on their visits.

Hostess programs, however, may be on their way out nationally, Hamilton said.

"They feel like it's a good thing for our program because the hostesses are well-versed in the program, know the history of our program. They have done a good job of helping the recruits and their parents around on Saturdays and Sundays for their visits," Hamilton said. "We clearly define expectations of the hostesses and their time with the players."