UT taking advantage of new hoops rule

AUSTIN, Texas -- It’s not often the football program is jealous of the basketball program around Texas.

But count summer as one of those times. That’s because a new NCAA rule allows Rick Barnes and his staff two hours per day and up to eight hours a week to work with guys if they are enrolled in summer school. Meanwhile Mack Brown continues to be somewhat in the dark about what goes on with his players’ development in the summer.

“We can't even meet with [players] on football over the summer,” Brown said. “We can talk to them about their personal lives and academics, but not football. Basketball has a better rule. We're pitching to the NCAA. If you are going to pay a guy a scholarship, to me you should be able to ask him to show up and work.”

Barnes agreed and sympathized.

“If I were football coaches I would be envious of it,” he said.

One of the primary beneficiaries of the rule is the incoming class. And since Texas has six freshmen, getting those players on the floor and allowing them to learn what the expectations should help jumpstart the program.

“We’re excited about this group because we are excited about what we have been able to see here early,” Barnes said. “It’s a group of guys that have a little bit of edge about them.”

Group being the key word. Last season, Texas just had a handful, and only three players went through the spring in 2011. Only nine guys were on scholarship when the season started. Now Texas at least has the ability to run full court.

“Competition is going to be so much better in practice on a day-to-day basis,” Barnes said. “That is going to help us immensely. That is where that word accountability comes in and really plays a major role in what you’re trying to do.”

Texas coaches are trying to do something else with the aid of the new rule -- get to know the personalities of their players and build on that.

“If you want to develop a relationship with somebody or someone or something you have got to put time into it,” he said. “This time of year, as a coach, you hope and you think you know what is going on but with this new rule you get a quick feel. It gives us a chance to tell these guys as we continue to progress here what to do to continue to get better.”

It also gives them a chance to be more accountable for how the players develop on and off the floor.

“We are responsible and we should be responsible,” Barnes said. “People have asked us to take their kids and help them continue to grow and mature we know these guys have dreams and what they want to do. So we are responsible. With that being said we should have the opportunity to spend time around them.”

Now the coaches have that time.