The SEC submitted its suggestions for changes to NCAA rules regarding recruiting athletes. And surprise, surprise, the SEC’s representatives want to make their own jobs easier. While I’m definitely not here to defend the NCAA’s byzantine policies regarding everything, it’s still pretty funny that there aren’t a whole lot of new rules within the SEC’s proposals. But it’s the South, so maybe they’re just small-government Republicans down there.
The biggest change the conference would like to see made is the repeal of a ban on text messaging recruits. The ban, which the NCAA instituted in 2007, was created because the most sought-after recruits were being constantly hounded by recruiters through text messages. And why wouldn’t recruiters constantly contact their targets? These guys have their jobs on the line while the recruits are just seniors in high school.
On the surface, it’s ridiculous to think that total elimination of the ban wouldn’t result in recruits waking up with 100 text messages on their phones. Even at the time of the creation of the rule, the coaches, reasonably I might add, proposed simply limiting the amount of texts one can send to a recruit.
There are, of course, problems with that proposal as well. For example, there are myriad logistical issues as far as who is going to monitor the cell phone of every head coach, assistant coach, recruiting coordinator, video guy, strength and conditioning coach, etc. The NCAA certainly doesn’t have the manpower to do that for every football team in the country, let alone every sports program for every member institution. This kind of forced the NCAA’s hand into the “all or nothing” situation so bemoaned by coaches at the time.
Remember, though, this is the SEC we’re talking about. No one will ever say this, but let’s face it, coaches in that conference – and in most others I’d imagine – have been figuring out ways around this rule from the moment it was instituted. The schools just want to eliminate the risk involved in illegally contacting a recruit via text, so they figured, hell, let’s get rid of it altogether. These coaches have their jobs at stake based on the whims of a 17-year-old rising high school senior, so the ability to text those kids as often as possible sounds pretty damned enticing.
But I agree with then-Georgia Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt from this piece around the time ban was created: “This thing has become too intrusive into kid’s lives. Not only coaches but media people who get an idea of what they are thinking about.” He goes on to say that he’s for only being able to text recruits on the weekends, which is still illogical and a nightmare to enforce, which is probably the point anyway from the coaches.
However, the point remains the same that these schools care very, very much about contacting recruits as often as possible. There are millions of dollars and jobs on the line based on how good the recruits each program gets. Their needs are solely based on survival and winning. The needs of the high school athletes are nothing like that. They want to get a scholarship (duh) but they still have their senior seasons to play and have a fairly limited amount of time in their day to go to school, practice, and get homework done. They aren’t going to get kicked out of school if the football team loses or something. It’s a whole different world.
So, unlike most other things in college sports, just because the SEC wants it doesn’t mean that it should happen. Of course they LOVE the BCS, but that’s because it’s a system that favors them. They want to eliminate the no-text rule because they want recruiting to become even more high-stakes and constant because sports are just that important in the SEC.
I know it’s asking a lot, but please, NCAA, don’t screw this up too by just giving in to the SEC.