By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College presidents passed legislation on Wednesday that will affect future recruiting in its member school’s athletic programs.
First, schools will no longer have protected lists for athletes in their home districts. Schools will now be free to recruit any athlete in the state.
“It’s going to be wide-open,” Northeast head football coach Ricky Smither said. “Mississippi’s going to be a madhouse.”
Itawamba head football coach Jon Williams said that despite the new “wide-open” recruiting, the Indians will continue to recruit area players.
“We’re going to continue to recruit our district and work hard to keep our kids close to home,” he said. “It’s going to be new. It will take some getting used to … some growing pains as we go through the new recruiting measures.”
The presidents also cut in half the number of out-of-state athletes who can sign with a school. For example, in football, the number drops from eight to four.
“That means in football you’ll have 56 less out-of-state players (state wide),” Itawamba men’s basketball coach Marty Cooper noted. “That will be 56 more Mississippi kids playing.”
Added Smither, “That’s what the presidents wanted, more Mississippi kids playing.”
The out-of-state restrictions will also apply to Northeast having Alabama’s Colbert County as a part of its district.
Member schools will also no longer be able to recruit foreign players.