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Social media forces NCAA rules change in college hoops

June 15, 2012

Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray can now communicate by text messages with recruits who have completed their sophomore year of high school. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)

Social media has changed the world.

Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and the countless others ways of communication have not only changed the way news is received, it has changed the way to relate to other individuals, particularly those of younger generations.

Leading research suggests one in every 7 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook.

With that to consider, the NCAA has begun to change the rules regulating the way college coaches are allowed to communicate with prospective student-athletes.

Friday was the first day that Division I men’s basketball coaches were allowed to text message with recruits who have completed their sophomore year of high school.

The rule change is part of an ongoing look into how the recruiting process can be improved. This new legislation is welcomed by college coaches, but not for obvious reasons.

Certainly the process of recruiting becomes a bit easier, but the root of the reasoning behind the change is control. By allowing more communication between coaches and athletes, the coaches are thought to have more control in the recruiting process thus limiting the third-party influences which have corrupted much of college basketball.

Coaches are now permitted to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages with recruits following their sophomore year. The deregulation extends to social media, where private messages will be allowed. Public messages continue to be prohibited because of the rule preventing institutions from publicizing their recruiting efforts.

"I think it is great because it gives us access to contact recruits in the way they want and like to communicate," new Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Ray said. "Kids don't want to talk us old men. They would rather text."

While basketball is the first sport to see legislative change in this manner, other sports are undergoing committee evaluations of how such changes can be made. Football is included in this process.

NCAA football isn’t currently in a legislative cycle, but onlookers of college athletics could see change in other sports with in the next six months to a year.

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