Opinion: NCAA Just Doesn't Understand

Our earlier story presented the news that the NCAA voted to disallow text messages. It contained descriptive info from the NCAA and a response by an Atlantic 10 men's basketball head coach who was asked a question on this subject. Now it's my turn. This rule is a top down decision. Prospective student-athletes (aka kids) didn't have a voice. They, and many coaches, might have a different answer.

Link: NCAA Bans Text Messaging

    (Excerpt): "We believe that text messaging and instant messaging are both highly unprofessional in the recruiting process," Kenny said. "You wouldn't use text messaging to contact an employer when searching for a job, and it's unlikely that an employer would contact you with a text message to offer you the job."

The current rule, via the NCAA's Official Interpretation of June 21, 2000, is:

    The use of a pager to contact a prospect is considered a telephone call. If a pager permits a text message to be displayed, an institutional coaching staff member who leaves a message in excess of a greeting is considered to have made a telephone contact. [References: Bylaws 13.1.3 (telephone calls to prospects) and 13.1.3.1 (time period for telephone calls - general rule)]


Note: All college coaches in any sport are affected. Discussion applies to any one.


Phone calls can cost money too. There's no additional cost to a specific call unless the caller or the recipient has used too many minutes for the landline or cell phone plan. Same result applies to texting.

Not sure the Division I voters understand what happens throughout a young man's or young women's day. It's busy.

And may not be fully aware of the relationship that develops between a prospect and a college basketball coach. As the cliche goes, need to walk a day in his shoes.

Being professional as a college coach takes a lot of forms. A coach is not a CEO, supervisor, etc. and isn't looking to hire an employee. No CEO would be likely to pass a basketball while on a recruiting visit. A CEO with sneakers!

And the kid -- that's who we're really talking about -- wants a good relationship with a coach he might play for. They already know how to deal with phone/text problems.

The kid only becomes a prospective student-athlete because the NCAA puts on that label.

As for cost, each of my text messages could cost 15 cents, but they don't. I have a plan for that along with the plan for calls. So would the prospect; their's probably allows many more minutes.

Intrusion happens only if the receiver considers it so. Most people respond to calls or messages while busy the same way; they deal with it when the time is right.

Actually, text messages are less intrusive that phone calls.

Sales solicitations, junk phone calls are intrusive. Fortunately national legislation took care of most of that.

These calls were a problem because folks would be interrupted while doing something else, like eating, talking with family, watching before 9 p.m. TV shows.

A phone rings, and rings, etc. Folks mostly can't control calls to landlines unless they've done something, such as turn the ringer off, which also affects calls they want to get. Handling this problem is a lot easier with a cell phone.

Those who text need to know how to handle electronic communications. For text messages, have to understand abbreviations. A pizza ad currently rotating on our front page reads:

You got the BFD. An unlimited flat-rate pizza.

The ad works as intended only if the reader can translate BFD to Best Friend Dinner.

And that may be the issue. Is this rule change for the most part from folks who don't use today's technology, versus those who do?

Heck, even my brother (older) texts; has to since he's got teenagers!

Anyone who doesn't know that text messages come from a cell phone or computer - you don't have a problem.


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