As hundreds of universities concluded their spring practices over the past few weeks, the impact of a strong high school recruit became evident as a record 69 players chose to accelerate their graduation to December in order to participate in this year’s spring games.
With so much pressure on both schools and players to make the right choice, the recent move by the NCAA to ban the use of text messaging between coaches and recruits could have a major impact on who gets what and who goes where.
The issue is set to go before the NCAA board of directors today, and if passed, will go into effect in August.
According to Offensive Coordinator James Ferguson, the use of text messages serves as the perfect way for coaches at Sam Houston State to contact and attract potential Bearkat players.
“I think text messaging is very effective,” Ferguson said. “It’s the main medium kids use today.”
At Sam Houston State, Ferguson said coaches use text messaging as a means of communicating information to high school recruits, or to let them know the Bearkat coaches are following their performance.
“I’ll text a player if I think there’s something they need to know, like upcoming games or if we’re having any camps,” Ferguson said. “Sometimes I’ll do it if I want to wish them luck or congratulate then on a recent game.”
Coaches may choose to text message recruits for a variety of reasons, though the main focus is usually to make sure their school stays on the player’s radar.
“Some coaches will abuse it, but everyone wants to be the first to call,” Ferguson said.
The abuse many recruits have complained of includes receiving hundreds of text messages a day, leading the NCAA to suggest the ban.
Yet many coaches believe the proposed ban is too extreme and that the NCAA should settle on a less stringent policy concerning the issue instead.
Ferguson said he is opposed to a total ban, but would support a limit to the number of messages or times a coach can send texts to a high school recruit.
“It depends on what they do,” Ferguson said. “The worst thing is, some kids will get hundreds of text messages a day, and they don’t want that. It costs them a lot of money. There are already limits to when you can call a recruit. If they limit the number of text messages or the times you can do it, I would be ok with that. “
As the competition for the top recruits heats up each year among a growing number of colleges, the question of how much is too much may push the NCAA to force college coaches to find another way to reach the best high school players before another college catches them first.