Housing policy leads recruits to hotels

University officials declined to talk specifics on housing policy impacts.

University Housing and Residential Life is working with University Counsel to amend a change in housing policy that has restricted the way the school has been recruiting students and student-athletes.

The university’s guest policy was changed at the beginning of this semester to prohibit non-student minors from staying overnight at residence halls, among other tweaks.  The changes were spurred by a recommendation during the summer from the Task Force on Institutional Integrity, which was created to analyze Judge Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

A month and a half after the new policy was placed into effect, the university is trying to amend it again.

The task force’s report cautioned the university that a complete ban on overnight stays for non-matriculated minors may have negative consequences, such as its impact on student-athlete recruitment.

When Temple hosts recruits on official athletic visits, the prospective student either stays overnight on Main Campus or is housed elsewhere off campus, depending on the sport, said a university official who requested to remain anonymous. The change in housing policy has eliminated the on-campus option for this semester.

This changed has caused athletic recruits to stay in area hotels, Michael  Scales, associate vice president and director of University Housing and Residential Life, said through a statement sent to University Communications.

The housing policy has only partially affected Temple’s three revenue sports: football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

The contact period for when football programs can officially sponsor recruiting visits doesn’t begin until Nov. 25, according to the 2012-13 NCAA Recruiting Calendar. Women’s basketball had a contact period from Sept. 16 to Oct. 6 and men’s basketball’s recruiting period began Sept. 9 and will continue throughout this semester, according to the recruiting calendar.

However, the three revenue sports have not housed recruits on Main Campus in the past for the most part, The Temple News confirmed.

On-campus housing for recruits had been used sparingly among Temple’s non-revenue sports in the past prior to the housing policy change, the university official said.

Eight non-revenue sports, including baseball, field hockey and volleyball, have had contact periods overlap with the time since the new housing policy was enacted, according to the recruiting calendar.

No coaches were made available for comment from Athletic Communications and an interview request with Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw was denied.

Attempts to ascertain costs associated with recruiting were unsuccessful. Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law only mandates that Temple release certain financial information.

Meanwhile, students’ siblings who are minors haven’t been able to stay overnight while visiting Temple as a possible college destination, and students who are parents haven’t been able to house their children overnight on campus.

University Housing and Residential Life is working with University Counsel to include exemptions in the policy for student-athlete recruits, other recruits and others falling under special circumstances, Scales said through University Communications.

An interview request with Scales was denied.

The change to the guest policy was first recommended because the university had no policy regarding non-matriculated minors staying overnight. The task force recommended the university review its overnight guest policy, and University Housing responded with an immediate moratorium on overnight visits by non-Temple minors.

However, the task force stated: “Respecting the need for the temporary moratorium, the Task Force cautions that a complete ban on such visits could have unintended negative consequences.”

Joey Cranney can be reached at joseph.cranney@temple.edu or on Twitter @joey_cranney.

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