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How New Expanded Coaching Staff Limits Could Impact BYU Basketball And Other Programs

Weber State v Brigham Young Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Back in January, the NCAA passed new rules that impacted transfer eligibility and coaching staff limits. The new transfer rules received the most publicity — undergraduate transfers who are transferring for a second time will held to a higher bar for waivers. Below is the NCAA criteria to receive a immediate-eligibility waiver for a second undergraduate transfer.

“A demonstrated physical injury or illness or mental health condition that necessitated the student’s transfer (supporting documentation, care plans and proximity of the student’s support system will be considered), or

Exigent circumstances that clearly necessitate a student-athlete’s immediate departure from the previous school (e.g., physical assault or abuse, sexual assault) unrelated to the student-athlete’s athletics participation.

All other guidelines will no longer be used for waiver requests to compete during championship seasons that first occur in 2023-24.

The Council agreed that athletics reasons (lack of playing time, position presence) and academic preferences should not warrant waiver relief.”

This could be a whole article by itself, but this will obviously impact all sports moving forward. Waivers for second-time undergrad transfers have been given out quite liberally — Jaxson Robinson and Noah Waterman both received one for BYU. Essentially, all a program needed was a signature from the opposing coach that the player was “run off”. Virtually every coach would sign this as to not hurt their reputation for landing future transfers.

Coaching Staff Limit Expansion

Currently, Men’s and Women’s basketball staffs can include three full-time assistants, a director of basketball operations, and graduate assistants. The NCAA’s new rule in January allows two additional assistant coaches for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, meaning teams can have five assistants.

“The Council supported an increase of two coaches in men’s and women’s basketball. These additional coaches may engage in coaching activities but may not recruit off campus.”

The new coaching limit rule takes effect on July 1, 2023 — the day BYU officially enters the Big 12. While these coaches can’t recruit off-campus, they can be part of skill instruction, game planning, scouting, and on-campus recruiting.

How will Mark Pope utilize these two new assistants? Since recruiting won’t be one of the assignments (at least off-campus), getting someone who specializes in player development and X’s and O’s will be a great benefit to BYU’s program.

One type of name I would throw out there is Mark Fox. Fox has been a D1 head coach since 2004 and spent the last 4 seasons at Cal. He is in the midst of a 3-24 season and will likely be fired at the conclusion of the season. Fox and Pope are very close, going back over 30 years. Fox was an assistant coach at Washington when Pope was a player, and he gave Pope his first coaching job at Georgia over a decade ago. They’ve remained close since their days at Washington and Fox is one of Pope’s greatest coaching mentors along with Pitino.

Would Fox want to come to Provo for a year, help out his protégé Pope enter the Big 12, and have a role where he can focus on just basketball and not recruit for a year? I don’t have anything sourced saying he would, but on paper it could make sense Fox was interested.

Maybe BYU can give a current Big 12 Director of Basketball Operations a promotion to an assistant gig — someone that knows the league and can help in scouting.

One other thing coaches around the country will surely do is hire a mid-major assistant with the unwritten understanding that a impact transfer could come along with the coach. Wouldn’t be the worst thing if BYU did something like that!

So many different avenues BYU could go, whether it be player development, scouting, x’s and o’s, or recruiting.

I have some potential assistant coaches in mind that I’ll write about this offseason as potential fits at BYU, especially if any of the current assistants go elsewhere, but having the two additional coaches will help programs all across the country. Now that BYU is in the Big 12, they’ll have more money to lure quality coaches to expand the staff.