NCAA President Mark Emmert arrives to speak to reporters at the organization's annual convention, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. Emmert delivered his state of the association address on the second day of the group's convention, where severa
Erica Albright: “You're obsessed with finals clubs. You have finals clubs OCD. You need to see someone who'll prescribe some sort of medication. You don't care if the side effects may include blindness.”
Mark Zuckerberg: “Final clubs. Not finals clubs. And there's a difference between being obsessed and being motivated.”
— Scene from The Social Network
That thin line suddenly became thinner.
With the new rulebook revisions the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved last weekend, a recruiter’s behavior when courting that prized four or five star football prospect in the immediate future might be misconstrued as persistent.
Or downright obsessive, now.
It depends on your perspective. Understand one thing, though: the recruiter is only partially responsible for his or her conduct from now on. Blame the 18 individuals on the Board of Directors who voted on an overhaul.
Let me explain.
Labeled as “common sense” changes, the amended rules no longer restrict communication between recruiters and recruits in football. Gone are improper phone calls, illegal text messages, dead periods and quiet periods that kept coaches on a tight, monitored leash.
Recruiters are free to roam as they please now. Unlimited phone calls. Unlimited text messages. Unlimited access.
Implementation begins Aug. 1.
“It’s huge,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert on NCAA.org.
The rule change is beneficial for everyone. Except recruits, recruiters and recruiters’ families.
Recruiters, prepare to work even harder.
You want a shot at defensive back Jamal Adams — No. 1 ranked Rivals.com recruit in the 2014 class — or quarterback Kyle Allen — No. 1 ranked signal caller in 2014? You better sharpen those thumb skills. Text messages won’t type or send themselves. Unless you have Siri.
"You're just going to have to say, I'm not doing this on Sundays, I'm not doing this on vacation," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez to Sports Illustrated.
"But I know this. When I go on vacation, I'm going to have my phone with me, and if a top prospect texts me, you better believe I'm gonna text him back."
Much more work, much more stress.
Recruits, prepare to be annoyed.
You’re wanted. Desperately. That means your phone won’t stop beeping, ringing and/or vibrating during the recruiting process. Better beef up that texting plan to unlimited so that your parents avoid lagniappe charges each month.
A few other things: be decisive, don’t be afraid to dictate the relationship with recruiters and don’t be afraid to say you’re not interested. They won’t stop bugging you. Unless you tell them to.
"It's great for us, but it sucks for the recruits," said another recruiting coordinator to Sports Illustrated. "You take the top 50 kids in the country -- every school in the country is going to be calling and texting these kids all day."
What NCAA calls a more streamlined process is nothing but a headache for recruiters and recruits everywhere. Essentially, it becomes a full-time job for top prospects and coaches.
How are kids supposed to focus on academics or their commitments to their team if they can’t put down their cell phone?
In basketball, this works. It even makes sense. You impose freedom to limit the role of third parties trying to influence prospects. In football, it doesn’t. Why?
In football, there aren’t alternative league or AAU football, which means no influence from third-party coaches. And recruiters sometimes target between 100-200 prospects so that they will end up signing the maximum 25 kids per class.
Zuckerberg was right. There is a difference between being obsessed and being motivated. Starting Aug. 1, though, will it matter?