The Division I Board of Directors decided on Thursday to restructure a number of rules that affect men’s basketball recruiting. Overall, the concept of change has been celebrated and it’s good to see the NCAA reacting to the times. I’ll feel a lot better about the changes once we can measure their effectiveness. I also hope that the changes can be amended quickly if we learn they aren’t working.
On June 15, 2012, college coaches will be able to call and text recruits as much as they desire (other rules change as of August 2012). Numb thumb syndrome will rise amongst 30-50 year old men in our sport. If high school players don’t know where the ignore button is on their smart phone now, they will next summer. I have one problem with this rule on unlimited contacts. Unlimited contacts solves an NCAA problem but creates one for the kids. The NCAA no longer has to monitor the contacts and now the onus is on the players to filter out the ridiculous number of messages and calls there about to get. My preference would have been to keep it regulated. We’ll see how it goes.
On the NCAA’s website, it cites reducing the role of third parties by ramping up the player’s interactions with college coaches. Frankly, that statement shows the disconnect between the organization and reality. If a kid gets totally overwhelmed, he’s still taking the call from the third party. If the college coach can’t get the kid to pick up his phone or text him back, who do you think he’s going to call? Bonus points if you said third party. Like I said, this rule is a feel good move and might work, but it is comical that someone thinks this will reduce third-party involvement.
During contact periods, coaches can now speak with seniors and juniors when they go out and see them at their high schools. This change eliminates an awkward situation and does away with a previous rule that was deemed useless. Talking to players is one of the most common rules broken by just about everyone, and when I say everyone that means from No. 1 to No. 345. What the change doesn’t address is the fact that schools will continue to talk to the freshmen and sophomores they go to see.
Juniors can now take official visits beginning Jan. 1 of their junior year. I like the change but it’s not reducing third-party influence. Also, I’m nitpicking but why not the entire junior year so kids could pick a Midnight Madness to attend?
The move slices eight days from the 20 currently in the period by creating a series of three four-day periods. 1) there will still be a ton of events 2) non-BCS level programs that actually need to see guys play to evaluate them are hurt most by this. I don’t mind trying something new, but reserve an opinion until we go through it at least once.
The coaches will now be on the road for two weekends in April. In layman’s terms this means they can attend AAU events again. This is probably the one change I support without hesitation. Provided I can still find an available seat for AAU games, I’m more than good with this.
If I had a magic wand ...
I’d allow four coaches on the road in July with the stipulation that only two could be at the same event. If you need four coaches at the same event then you’ve got this thing figured out and don’t need to be out evaluating or recruiting at all.