He's back. It didn't take long for Nick Saban to find a way around the "Saban Rule," which prohibits head coaches from making off-campus visits during the spring evaluation period, running from April 15 to May 31.
Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News details how Saban hooked up with William Ming, a hotshot defensive end recruit from Athens (Ala.) High.
It started when Crimson Tide assistant Curt Cignetti visited Ming at his high school, which has a Distance Learning Lab that allows students to take online classes by using a live webcam. Writes Scarbinsky:
"Cignetti left behind a web address that Ming used to log on later that day and spend 15-20 minutes talking, through the webcam, with Saban, who was in his office in Tuscaloosa.
"Athens High Coach Allen Creasy, who witnessed the conversation, called it 'a first from a recruiting standpoint' for his school.
" 'You could see [Saban's] facial expressions and hand gestures just as if you were sitting across the desk from him,' Creasy said. 'It's the next-best thing to being there in person.' "
And perfectly legal under NCAA rules. Although Saban and his staff are restricted to one phone call to a junior recruit during the spring evaluation period, a prospect can make unlimited calls to a staff, even if a "call" involves the use of a webcam.
As you can expect, Crimson Tide fans are giddy over the news.