3 and Out: Kirk Ferentz supports early official visit dates

We have a "butt" quote that comes with a but and it's all about recruiting

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1. The “butt” quote and what it means

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz had a quote with the word "butt" in it on the Big Ten teleconference this week. The “butt” part wasn’t what got everyone all unraveled. It was the whole quote (but hey, deft use of a term to get everyone’s attention, right? No? OK).

Last week, the NCAA submitted a proposal calling for two 72-hour periods for football recruits to sign letters of intent (one in June and the other during mid-December). This is the early signing period that Ferentz has been in favor of for a long, long time. If passed, the early signing period would be effective for the 2017-18 season.

The proposal also asks for earlier dates for official visits, something cold-weather schools have wanted forever. This is where Ferentz offered his opinion on early visit dates.

“I’m 100 percent for that,” Ferentz said. “The reason being, probably about five years ago, prospects just started traveling more. I remember a young man from Minnesota who was here first week of spring practice in March that year because we had already offered him. If you offer somebody, typically they will try to get to your campus and that’s not always easy for them and their families. They’re traveling already, so should make those official visits earlier instead of during the season.”

But there’s a “butt” on the in-season visits.

“In-season visits are a total pain in the butt,” Ferentz said. “I think they really cheat the prospect of some of the experience.”

This is where there’s debate. This didn’t play well with media that cover Nebraska recruiting. Hey, this is how rivalries work and don’t kid yourself about objectivity.

Game day experience is fantastic for recruits. Coaches happen to be coaching a game that day. That’s kind of the conundrum.

2. Here’s HawkeyeReport.com’s Tom Kakert to walk us through this

HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert knows recruiting a lot better than I do. I see Ferentz’s point, but I also would want recruits to be able to take a huge bite of the apple that is a fantastic game day experience.

Here are Tom’s thoughts:

This week on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference, Kirk Ferentz didn’t mince his words. It’s well known that Ferentz isn’t a big fan of in-season official visits when the Hawkeyes have a home game. This week he called them a “pain in the butt”, which was about as far as he has gone in terms of the language he has used.

Ferentz has said in the past that part of his issue is that the coaches are focused on the game, as they should be, and the coaches can’t spend much time with the prospects, which they feel is important. The fact is recruiting is about relationships and spending time with a prospect and their family while they are on campus is very important, so his concern does have merit.

Part of the problem for Iowa simply is travel related. The Hawkeyes had hoped to bring in several prospects from the state of Texas next week when they host Wisconsin. But, with the game now schedule to kickoff at 11 a.m., getting to Iowa City in time for the game after the prospects play their games on Friday night in the Lone Star State is a challenge.

Even with direct flights into Cedar Rapids from Dallas, most prospects wouldn’t arrive at Kinnick until just before kickoff, so it takes away from the whole game day experience.

But, the problem for Iowa that I think they’re beginning to realize and will probably have to adjust to is that prospects want to take official visits for games. That’s especially true for many higher level prospects who live out of state. The in-state prospects or regional players can make the drive and it’s not a big issue. Higher level kids from Texas and beyond, however, want the game day experience. It’s going to be important moving forward for Iowa to find a way to work around the preferences of the head coach and the needs of today’s recruits.

3. Big Ten Love Tester

It’s for sure Ohio State at Wisconsin.

OK, OK, it’s Illinois at Rutgers. It’s not even close. I’m sorry, Rutgers and Lovie Smith, but you guys know. The Scarlet Knights lost 78-0 to Michigan last week and then people seemed to notice the fact that Rutgers is in the Big Ten. Illinois lost at home to Purdue and coach Darrell Hazell, who has just three Big Ten wins in three-plus seasons.

The game kicks off at noon and has been stamped with the dreaded ESPNews slot.

The light on the Big Ten Love Tester is blue and the letters next to it say “Clammy.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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