Addition of 10th full-time assistant could be delayed until after 2017 season

Nebraska graduate assistant Tavita Thompson, who coaches the tight ends, could become the Huskers' 10th full-time assistant once legislation is passed by the NCAA.

College football programs may have to wait until after next season to add a 10th full-time assistant coach.

Teams are currently allowed nine full-time assistants, but a proposal from the Division I Football Oversight Committee passed in October aimed to add a 10th. That proposal also received unanimous support in January from the American Football Coaches Association and was expected to go into effect in April after a vote by the Division I Council.

But an amendment to that proposal released this week by the NCAA aims to push that back. The amended legislation now proposes a start date of Jan. 9, 2018 for the 10th full-time assistant. That would make it effective immediately after the end of the 2017 college football season.

The amendment claims there are "many concerns" with the timing of an April start date and pushing it back to January would alleviate that.

"An April effective date is in the middle of the budget year for the membership and is late in the hiring period for a football staff," the amendment reads. "If the effective date is amended to occur to the conclusion of the 2017 football season, member institutions will have the opportunity to budget for the addition of a full-time countable coach and associated costs related to recruiting. In addition, a delayed effective date will better fit the hiring timeline for a football staff and will not require readjustments following the spring practice period."

Nebraska coach Mike Riley said in the fall that he was strongly in favor of adding a 10th assistant, citing the heavily lopsided athlete-coach ratio in college football.

The Huskers currently have nine full-time assistants after this week's hiring of Bob Elliott as safeties coach. NU has also hired defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and corners coach Donte Williams this offseason.

The would-be 10th assistant at Nebraska is likely already on staff. Billy Devaney, Nebraska's executive director of player personnel, said Wednesday during an interview on "The Bottom Line" that Thompson has been "earmarked" for that spot once this legislation is passed. But assuming this amendment is made official, Thompson would have to wait nearly one more year before becoming a full-time assistant. 

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