Pastner a fan of new recruiting legislation

Under the new regulations, college basketball coaches are now allowed unlimited contact — text messaging and phone calls — with prospective student-athletes after June 15 of their sophomore years. University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner is a fan.

University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner is usually glued to his cell phone.

As he's getting strapped up with mics before a press conference, he‘s writing a text message. As he walks to his office every morning, he's texting or calling somebody.

So it should come as no surprise that the avid text messenger Pastner is a big fan of the new recruiting legislation that the NCAA passed earlier this week; under the new regulations, college basketball coaches are now allowed unlimited contact — text messaging and phone calls — with prospective student-athletes after June 15 of their sophomore years.

"I think it's all positive," Pastner said. "Lifting communication bans with PSA's at an earlier stage, along with giving us more access, allows us to educate them about academic standards and amateurism. It's important for them to be aware."

By allowing unlimited contact between coaches and recruits, the influence of third parties is reduced, the NCAA said in its release.

"I think the new legislation took out the gray area," Pastner said. "It made everything black and white, which is a positive thing."

The renovations to the NCAA's basketball recruiting model, which go into full effect in 2012, don't stop at communication.

Prospects can now begin taking official visits after January 1 of their junior years. Prior to the rule amendment, only seniors were permitted to take official visits.

The new legislation reinstated the April evaluation period, which now lasts for two weekends, while the July period was reduced from two nine-day sessions to three four-day sessions.

"I think the NCAA made the necessary steps to improve certain areas," said Evan Daniels, Scout.com's national basketball recruiting analyst. "Bringing back April and allowing text messages were musts."

Lifting the embargo on text messaging and the resurrection of April on the recruiting calendar were things that the majority of coaches were pushing for, Daniels said.

Pastner, who has made his living as a relentless recruiter, said that while some may perceive unlimited contact as a potentially negative regulation, it's ultimately the recruit's responsibility to answer the phone or not.

"I think it puts it on the young man to take some initiative and tell people when he's not interested," Pastner said.

Pastner added that the new legislation is beneficial to his budget. If a recruit stops responding to his text messages, he said, it's usually a good indication that he's no longer interested in the University of Memphis.

"It's good for a guy who doesn't want to waste time," Pastner said. "If the guy stops texting you, you can move on the next one."

Daniels said he was mostly pleased with the communication deregulations.

"I think unlimited calls may be slightly overboard, but I do think that there needed to be more communication between the athletes and coaches," Daniels said. "This is a step in that direction."


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