Will Coaches Abuse New “Unlimited Recruiting Calls” Rule?Posted by EJacoby on June 11th, 2012
Starting at the end of this week, men’s basketball will become the guinea pig of a new NCAA rule that allows college coaches unlimited contact via phone calls and text messages to recruits who have finished their sophomore year of high school. While this may not seem like huge news, the altered rule actually represents a massive change from current NCAA guidelines that prohibit coaches from texting players and allow just one call per month to a recruit. Instead of one monthly nerve-racking phone conversation, high school kids can now get more comfortable with coaching staffs through open dialogue, and that’s a good thing. But by the same token, coaches are now given free rein to unleash their manipulative recruiting pitches without restriction, a privilege that some might feel compelled to abuse. There is a thin line between showing persistence and being a nuisance so coaches must show caution with how they adapt to the new freedoms.
The new rule change offers yet another way for coaching staffs to try to get a leg up on their competition. Rutgers head coach Mike Rice said that “kids are going to get sick of the recruiting process quicker now, to be honest with you,” offering the idea that overwhelming kids with texts and calls is sometimes to a recruiter’s detriment. Recruiting has always been an area where some coaches excel over others, but now their communication skills will be put to the test on an everyday basis. There is no doubt that school administrators will check in often with their hired guns and push them to have constant contact with top recruits to gauge their level of interest.
So what kinds of coaches might benefit most from the new rule? Only time will tell, of course, as we have no idea which specific coaches and assistants are the best communicators with young players. But anyone who prides himself in being a “people person” could stand out with these new freedoms. Might recruits gain some new attraction to schools with young coaches that are more in touch and can better relate to them? Or will the Calhouns, Izzos, and Krzyzewskis of the sport gain even more of an advantage as they refrain from bombarding the best players?
While it’s unclear which teams stand to benefit most from increased communication, at least all schools should enjoy the more lenient policy. Slimming down the massive rule book is a priority of the NCAA, and eliminating unnecessary contact violations is a positive development. In the past, a school was docked a penalty should it call a recruit to congratulate him for an accomplishment or send condolences for a loss if the contact was in excess of one phone conversation per month. The new rule will prevent such ridiculous “violations” from occurring. We will have to wait and see, though, who can most effectively communicate with high schoolers that might use outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging to chat most often. One thing is for sure: It would definitely be cool to get a text from John Calipari when you are out to lunch with your friends.
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.