Jim Halley of USA Today interviewed a number of recruits at the Under Armour All-American Game and got their opinions on some changes to NCAA recruiting rules. A quick summary of the changes they requested:
- More limits on phone calls;
- Allowing text messages;
- Official visits during the summer;
- More or unlimited official visits;
Text messages are coming, likely starting August 1 of this year. More limits on phone calls are unlikely, and it will be up to recruits to manage access from coaches and dictate how often they want to talk on the phone. Official visits during the summer before senior year are at least 18 months out, probably starting in August 2014. That is, if juniors are not allowed to take official visits after January 1, like the current men’s basketball rule. It’s a toss-up as to whether athletes will be permitted more than five official visits.
What is interesting though is how rushed and out of control the recruiting process is for these prospects. There is an article of faith in college athletics that elite prospects have total control over the recruiting process and that below that level, there is less interest from schools for recruits to manage. That makes deregulation palatable.
The fact that an All-American recruit would be overwhelmed by the recruiting process as a sophomore is a strong counter-argument. As a sophomore, schools essentially cannot initiate contact with an athlete. Everything is mass communication and letting interest be known through back channels. That will be difficult to legislate against, and impossible to change the culture that makes athletes feel obligated to start the recruiting process when they get interest.
Hopefully allowing more avenues of recruiting will give prospects the leverage to push recruiting to the modes and times they want. And hopefully unlimited communication after a certain date will reduce the advantage gained by reaching out to an athlete early.