Once again, NCAA misses the mark

The NCAA upheld the ban on text messaging during their convention on Saturday. Admit it, you’re not surprised and neither was I, not in the least. I’m just surprised the organization commonly known for making asinine rules and regulations didn’t find another way to keep the game it profits from in the dark ages. Pssssst, don’t tell the NCAA, but coaches still use Blackberry devices to send a message. If they figure that one out, they’ll outlaw the handhelds too.

I’m being a bit facetious here, but seriously, the NCAA’s ban on text messaging is ridiculous to say the very least. A coach can still send a recruit an e-mail to his or her cell phone and stay within the rules, because it’s considered an e-mail.

Wow. Can you hear me now?

“It may be the hippest form of communication, but it takes out the human element,” incoming chairman of the NCAA student-athlete advisory committee Kerry Kenny said in an ESPN.com report. “It’s been six months since the ban and I’m delighted to say the recruiting process has survived.”

Takes out the human element?

You mean like letters, postcards, and e-mail? Sure, the NCAA has always been about the pure interests of the student-athlete. Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod. Human element? Puhhlleasse.

If the NCAA had its’ way, coaches everywhere would have visiting hours at a large complex outside of Indianapolis manned by heavy-handed guards who shook them down like airport security.

Let’s stay on task here before I rant about an outdated, overbearing organization that takes dictatorship to an entirely new level. Despite stirring up all kinds of protests among many coaches, the ban wasn’t even going to be considered for a vote this year. Why? The ESPN report indicates that non-coaches had no interest in overturning the ban. Of course, it makes far too much sense to invite the coaches to present their case and investigate the results of the one-year ban.

Can text messaging be intrusive? Sure it can. But, prospective student-athletes, their families, and coaches can easily inform recruiters to minimize those text messages if they choose. Will their instructions always be followed? No. But, the last thing most coaches want is to alienate a potential signee.

Besides, prospective student-athletes can simply choose to ignore and delete them, just as we do thousands of times each year with junk mail. Once ignored, most responsible coaches will stop sending them. Some high school student athletes had their cell phone accounts without text messaging.

Most high school athletes are sharp enough to manage the situation.

Former Florida safety Todd Johnson once received a phone call from a coach at Indiana who asked him to grab a pencil and paper and follow along. The coach circuitously instructed Johnson to draw an orange tree on the paper. He then instructed the then Sarasota Riverview star to draw some fruit on the tree and told him that at the University of Florida he would be just like all of those other fruit on the tree. But, at Indiana he’d be the prize.

Johnson told his mother, Patti, that if that coach ever called again to ignore it. And that’s exactly the point. Do you think many recruits ignore calls, letters, or e-mails from certain recruiters? You’d better believe they do. They do so for various reasons. It might be it the cost of receiving numerous text messages or the disruption of repeated texts. Regardless, they can resolve the situation.

Florida coach Urban Meyer and his staff utilized text messaging to a fine art. Many of the players that I spoke with during that time thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to trade text messages with coaches. The one thing that most told me was that it felt as though it allowed them to get to know the coaches personality.

No, human element, huh?

Players families who had no unlimited text messaging plan associated with their account said that they either turned their phone off or let coaches know that their bill was getting too high. Of course, you have to remember that many phone plans today offer better text messaging opportunities with their plans.

It didn’t matter though. There was a message that was willing to be sent to the NCAA. Unfortunately, that message wasn’t received at the NCAA convention