Coach Hopes NCAA Amends Text-Message Ban

In April, the NCAA outlawed coaches using text messages to contact recruits. The ban was supposed to go in effect Aug. 1, but on Friday in the wake of an outcry from member institutions, the NCAA announced it would re-visit the issue. CU head coach Dan Hawkins hopes the NCAA will adopt a common-sense approach to creating rules about text messaging between coaches and prospects.

Anyone who's been around Dan Hawkins knows the 46-year old is hip to current technology. He's been known to pause in the middle of a press conference or before he tees off at a booster golf tourney and look at who is buzzing his cell phone with a text message.

Like many college coaching staffs these days, Hawkins and his assistant coaches regularly use text messaging to communicate with football recruits. It's a way for recruiters to meet the prospects where they live – knee deep in the digital world.

The way of communicating has until recently been ahead of NCAA regulation. That's led to some unfortunate circumstances. In the past year, stories circulated nationally about some prospects' phone bills ballooning out of control due rising numbers of texts messages from college coaches pursuing them.

Like many of his colleagues, though, Hawkins said the NCAA's rule — which was supposed to take effect Aug. 1 — was created too hastily. The issue needs more study.

"I don't like it," he said.

Hawkins said the student-athletes he's talked to about the ruling want to keep texting as an option of communication between themselves and college coaches.

"They'll all tell you they'd rather have it — because if I get a text message from Coach Hawk, it buzzes, you look at it and move on," Hawkins said. "Now what happens (if texting is outlawed) is you've got phone calls.

"I'd rather look at a text message instead of deal with eight new phone messages — you've got to listen to them all. It's simpler."

Hawkins also said high school coaches aren't crazy about outlawing text messages because it means they have to field more phone calls from college coaches looking to connect with their players.

The Associated Press reported on Friday the NCAA will now reconsider the rule at its Aug. 9 board of directors meeting. The move came after considerable outcry from member institutions. The board could decide to rescind the rule, or affirm it. "If it is affirmed, the rule would remain in place until a January vote at the NCAA's annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.," the AP reported.

Hawkins understands the need for some legislation surrounding text messaging, but hopes the NCAA uses a common-sense approach.

"What I'd rather see is (legislation) just like the phone calls – there are certain times, certain days you can do it. And you've got to live by that," he said. "I hope that it gets amended, I hope that it gets changed and can be much more in the middle."

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