Starting on June 15, 2012, the NCAA made significant rule changes for both Men’s Division I Basketball and all Division II sports. Coaches are now allowed to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages to recruits following June 15th of their sophomore year in high school. Coaches in all Division II sports are also now allowed to have unlimited off-campus contact with athletes after June 15th of an athlete’s sophomore year.
Problems in Basketball
One of the biggest problems the NCAA wanted to address was the problem with basketball recruiting. AAU and travel teams are an essential part of the basketball (and most team sports) recruiting process. The problem associated with this model is the coaches of the top AAU and travel teams hold too much power in recruiting because they can communicate directly with college coaches. The NCAA wants to take the third party aspect out of basketball recruiting, and by allowing coaches to contact athletes at the end of their sophomore year they pull the focus more on the relationship building between a college coach and an athlete; communication with AAU and travel team coaches becomes less advantageous for college coaches if they can just go directly to athletes at an earlier stage in their high school careers.
Coaches are not allowed to openly communicate with athletes on social media sites because they are not allowed to publicize their recruiting efforts, but they can communicate with them via direct message on Twitter, or on Facebook Messenger. The new rule that allows unlimited text messages extends to private messaging on social media sites. Again, the focus here is to enhance the relationship building aspect of the recruiting process. Social media is becoming more and more a part of college recruiting and sports, and these new rules will only help enhance this.
This is probably the most significant aspect of the rule changes (besides allowing contact at an earlier age) because text message is by far the most common and preferred method of communication for high school kids today. Allowing coaches to text athletes helps athletes in the recruiting process because it allows coaches to communicate quickly and directly with athletes, and athletes are most comfortable with this form of communication. It’s also a quick, easy way to update coaches or vice-versa.
Visits and Off Campus Contact
It goes without saying, but allowing unlimited off campus contact with recruits in Division II will only enhance the ability for coaches and athletes to form relationships. The better the relationship is between a coach and athlete, the better the chances are an athlete will be able to find the best opportunities out there for them, which makes them more likely to succeed in college once they get there.