New recruiting rage?

During his stint as head basketball coach at Oklahoma, Kelvin Sampson and his staff placed 577 phone calls to prospects that violated NCAA regulations. The NCAAA responded by barring Sampson – now the head man at Indiana – from phoning or visiting prospects off-campus until next May due to his "complete disregard" for the rules.

This is great news for two reasons:

1. The NCAA is punishing the offending coach (Sampson), rather than the school where the offenses occurred (Oklahoma). As more penalties are levied against coaches, instead of schools, coaches will become more accountable for violations that occur under their watch. This will dissuade some coaches who cheat, get caught, then leave their school to face the penalties while they move on to another job.

2. Since Sampson's violations occurred by telephone, taking away his telephone privileges sounds like an appropriate punishment.

There's a problem, however, that anyone who knows a teenager has already anticipated … text messaging. Sampson may not be able to telephone prospects but he can send them text messages all day every day if he chooses. Dropping a line of text may not carry as much weight as a friendly voice on the other end of the line but Sampson is still free to utilize a phone in communicating with prospects … essentially circumventing the penalties levied against him. In addition, what's to stop Sampson from sending three or four emails to his prized prospects each day?

Football and basketball coaches at other programs throughout the country – Tennessee included – have adopted text messaging as a major part of their recruiting strategy. It could become the new rage pretty soon.

Clearly, emails and text messages are making it easier to recruit and tougher to police recruiting. So, what can NCAA brass do to stop technology from assisting cheaters? ESPN tackles that topic in an episode of "Outside the Lines" that airs from 12:40-1 Tuesday morning.

It just might be interesting enough to justify sitting up that late.


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