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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Is the NCAA ban on texting a good idea?

    Josh Pastner
    Josh Pastner

    This should have happened sooner


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    A full ban on text messages would be the best thing to happen to college football in a long while. Although it might stymie dexterous coaches, it would return a level of integrity the recruiting game has gone without for far too long.

    It’s sinister how coaches stumble over each other these days to prey on teenagers neither emotionally nor physically mature. With their jobs on the line and fans and boosters to please, many deluge prospects’ phones with text messages, sometimes multiple times in a day, in an attempt to forge all-too-insincere bonds. Recruiters don’t really care how a kid’s parents are doing; they only want the whole family in their back pockets come signing day.

    Text-messaging has exposed a bogus loophole in NCAA recruiting mandates, and by and large it has left players confused and conflicted. The ability of text messages to obliterate honest, hard-nosed recruiting jobs has been inexplicable and worthy of redress.

    Take this situation:

    Two schools, A and B, are recruiting a top-100 national recruit. School A secures him in April of his junior year, 10 months before he can sign a National Letter of Intent. The recruit tells his lead recruiter that he’s a sure thing, and the coach leaves happy, but not before shaking hands and giving confident winks to the recruit’s father, mother, siblings and best friends.

    But wait! Eight months pass, and School B, a rival of A, learns that one of its top targets decided not to commit. What happens? B’s lead recruiter leaps to his BlackBerry, NCAA dead periods and all that jazz be damned, and sends the recruit 10 messages a day, all with the gist of, “”hey, (player name)! U: TOP of our list the WHOLE TIME. we treasure you, U would be a GREAT FIT here, why not visit r campus?””

    The recruit, curious about this sudden, frequent new attention he’s receiving, makes the trip. Would-be future teammates, his coaches, maybe representatives from the school’s other sports programs – they all treat him like Jesus resurrected. Hmm, the recruit thinks. I don’t remember School A being this nice nearly a year ago…

    Come signing day, the recruit signs with School B, and the head recruiter of A throws his cap on the floor in disgust. He thought he had the new cornerstone of his program.

    He did, until his new superstar got blitzed with text messages. Here’s hoping good riddance to a crooked culture.

    – Tom Knauer, senior sports writer

    Text limit bad for coaches


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    The NCAA will vote today on a potential ban that would halt the use of text-messaging from coaches to recruits.

    If the vote passes, as most do in the NCAA, the only thing it will do to protect prospective athletes is save them a few extra bucks on their cell phone bills.

    The National Student Advisory Committee was asked to survey the issue to all NCAA Division I student-athletes, and as a whole, they favored the elimination of text-messaging.

    But coaches should, and do know their limits. If, in any way, prospective athletes are annoyed by someone like legendary coach Lute Olson sending them a few text messages a day, chances are they aren’t that serious about playing college basketball.

    Recruits should be flattered that Division I coaches send them text messages, even if it’s just to say “”hello”” and not to gauge their individual interest in their respected programs.

    Yes, text-messaging can be addicting, and has become one of the easiest daily routines of this generation, but the NCAA is making a mistake with the ban.

    If prospective athletes do become annoyed with coaches, you’d like to think they’d have enough courage to tell them so, or just to not respond at all.

    Coaches will still find other outlets of communication, like e-mail, which the NCAA wants to limit, and instant-messaging. At this point text-messaging is still the new fad and has become one of the primary ways of communicating, much more so than e-mail.

    Maybe even Olson, among other coaches, will establish MySpace or Facebook accounts to communicate with prospective players. There’s nothing in the proposed bans that limits that form of communication, and you better believe coaches will explore that route eventually.

    Anna Chappell, a former UA women’s basketball player and current chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Board was the one responsible for initiating the ban with the NCAA. She even admitted that, initially, it would be a bit flattering if she received texts from someone like UA head coach Joan Bonvicini.

    When she was recruited, the age of text-messaging had not yet begun, and growing up in Canada, Chappell wouldn’t have been able to receive them anyway.

    “”I’d be flattered, but then again, text-messaging can get annoying and pretty intrusive on personal time,”” she said.

    – Mike Ritter, sports writer

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