NCAA allows 10th assistant coach, starting in January 2018

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Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports

Coaches in the Power Five conferences are about to get one of the top items on their wish list — but they’ll have to wait a couple of weeks beyond Dec. 25.

The NCAA Division I Council approved a proposal Friday to allow a 10th assistant coach for FBS programs. The provision for the 10th assistant will take effect Jan. 9, 2018, after the conclusion of the coming season.

The new rule is part of a wide-ranging package that includes an early signing period as well as other recruiting revisions.

RELATED: Early signing period for football gets approval from NCAA council, would start this year

The addition of a 10th assistant will come as a boost to big schools, and is expected to open up more than 100 on-field coaching positions throughout the FBS programs.

Some large programs, including SEC giants such as Alabama, already had found indirect ways to add to their staff by hiring experienced coaches to secondary roles like offensive and defensive analysts.

But it’s not necessarily cause for celebration for everyone. The addition of another staff position likely will exacerbate budget challenges for smaller schools. This week, for example, Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said the school’s 2018 game with Florida State, which comes with a $1.6 million payout, will “save people’s jobs” at the cash-strapped Mid-American Conference school.

The NCAA legislation likely leaves universities such as NIU with a hard choice: Hire a 10th assistant that the school really can’t afford, or continue to fall further behind in the ever-growing college football arms race for recruits, staff and cash.

Originally, in fact, the proposal to expand teams’ staffs was supposed to take effect immediately. In February, though, the proposal was amended to push the effective date to January 2018. As reported by CoachingSearch.com, that amendment was proposed by the Mid-American Conference.

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