On Campus: Text Messages = New Age Recruiting

Cell phones rule the world. They have conquered the billions of people on the earth quicker than Alexander the Great, King Kong, or even the spaceships in Independence Day. Napoleon may have been a strategic genius but he could never match the efficiency and cold-blooded skills of text messaging. Nobody is safe from their wrath. Not even college football coaches. Not even recruits.

Cell phones have infiltrated the last line of defense of everything good about this world. Currently under attack is the classic game of college football. Oh sure your Sidekicks and Razrs are convenient and fun to whip out to connect to the world. But these tricky little devices have taken it a step too far. They are now an integral part of the college recruiting game.


They have become more of a factor than watching tape or meeting face-to-face with a prospect. After talking to several recruits at the combine a few weeks ago they each mentioned something that gave me a punch to the figurative technological groin. Schools now use text messaging daily to pursue recruits. It has become the latest weapon in the recruiting wars.


Earlier this month Dan McCarney offered highly-touted linebacker Kevin Rouse in a text message exchange. And he probably isn't the only one to be offered this way. I can see Mac driving around in his SUV, chatting it up on his blue-tooth ear-piece while texting Rouse: "I liked ur 4t time, u were gr8 on tape, we want to offer!" Rouse: Ur serious? lol thanks!"


OK, it probably wasn't like that but I can only imagine.


Now I'm sure Coach Mac knows his way around a Blackberry, but what about the old-timers? How does Joe Paterno handle the latest craze? Does he shun the new technology like some of his generation? I can see him refusing to operate the text messaging and muttering to himself in that low JoePa grumble, "All these kids and their rap music, Nintendo's, and internets. I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. I recruited Ki-Jana Carter the old fashioned way, with hard work and boosters." (I'm just kidding JoePa.) 


Now to a more serious point: Are there any NCAA regulations involving text messaging? Is it the equivalent of a phone call? Well, here is the official bylaw from the big bad NCAA: "All electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g. e-mail, instant messenger, pages, text messaging) shall not be considered telephone calls." So, in other words, coaches can send unlimited text messages to a football recruit as early as Sept. 1 of his junior year. And that includes the "dead" and "quiet" periods. They can text whenever the mood strikes them. Also, there is no rule about recruits calling coaches. So for instance if Coach Mac texts Jordan Bernstine and writes: "Call me," Bernstine can in fact call him no matter the period without any problems.


Some recruits get to a point where they are receiving up to 15 to 20 texts per day from coaches. Poor kids. How are they supposed to text with their girlfriends if coaches keep interrupting? Their efforts to run over innocent civilians in the video game "Grand Theft Auto" will be thwarted by the incessant messages from position coaches.


I guess that's the day and age we live in. I'm just bitter that I never received a text from the Iowa State Journalism School pursuing my ability back in the day. Oh, to be young again.


Text Messaging and Cell phones are taking over, but JoePa and I are on the frontline to contain the proliferation like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.


But first I have to update my MySpace profile.     

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