One of the big differences in recruiting at the NCAA D1, D2 and D3 level is the amount of contact that is permitted between coach and student-athlete. For NCAA D3 soccer coaches, there are very few restrictions with regard to phone calls, emails and regular mail. While their counterparts have greater restrictions as far as contacting players before the end of their junior year in high school. Most recently, the NCAA changed the rules to permit NCAA D3 coaches to text prospective student-athletes.
In our “Communication With D3 Coaches” post from July 2011, the rules about telephone calls, emails and faxes were discussed between coaches and student-athlete. At that time, text messaging was not permissible for D3 coaches, while their counterparts at D1 and D2 were permitted to do so. This rule stemmed way back from 2006 when the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committees “shouted down a proposal” about coaches texting student-athletes (see “NCAA to evaluate text regulations“). Back then, texting typically was not free, and one had to pay for each text that was either sent or received. So if a student-athlete was receiving unsolicited text messages from a coach, chances are they were paying for them. And if you were a good student-athlete, chances are you were receiving a lot of text messages.
Why the change now? The costs are reduced “since most phone plans come with unlimited texting”. Also from the article- “Research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project in fact shows more than three-fourths of (American) teens own cell phones and that one in three send more than 100 texts daily. Almost 90 percent of teens text now, compared with about 50 percent five years ago.”
Furthermore, “costs and technology trends weren’t the only concerns… a primary pause then — and now — is simply whether texting is appropriate in the recruiting process.” From the article quotes from Ivy League deputy executive director Carolyn Campbell-McGovern included “back then that students thought ‘it was kind of creepy’ that their parents were using text messaging” and “likened it to our days as high school students when we left notes in each other’s lockers as a way to communicate among friends, but we certainly would have thought it was creepy for a teacher or a coach to do that. And that’s the same way student-athletes are talking about texting. It’s an informal way for them to chat with their friends, but it’s not intended to be a first exchange with someone you’re going to have a mentoring relationship with.”
The bottom line is this—the technology of texting is firmly entrenched in the mindset of high school student-athletes and is not going away any time soon. Furthermore, receiving a text message from parents, coaches or other adult is not viewed as “creepy” anymore and happens all the time. The landscape has changed since 2006 and allowing coaches to text student-athletes just makes sense. However, like all forms of communication, moderation is the key and it should not be taken to the extreme by either coach or student-athlete.
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