Changes to texting rules on table
Unlimited texting could be coming back to college football recruiting.
The NCAA's Rules Working Group proposed Tuesday lifting restrictions in all sports on the frequency and modes of electronic communications coaches can have with recruits. The NCAA currently allows basketball coaches to send unlimited texts and other forms of electronic communications, but texting has been banned in football recruiting since 2007.
"The working group members believe the membership is ready to lift restrictions on frequency and modes of communication," the NCAA said in a statement.
The proposal comes after football recruiting deregulation was placed on hold in May.
After it received more than 75 override requests from NCAA membership, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors suspended rule changes passed in January that would have allowed unlimited electronic communication from college coaches to football recruits. However, text messaging was just one portion of sweeping changes that would have altered football recruiting forever.
The original proposals called for unlimited contact initiated by college coaches to recruits, the elimination of the requirement that only a head coach or an assistant coach could perform the functions of a recruiting coordinator and the removal of restrictions on printed materials mailed to prospects. The working group also did suggest lifting some of the restrictions on general correspondence, such as using color in printed materials, but that's not as significant as the changes unlimited texting would bring to football recruiting.
In a recent ESPN.com survey of more than 700 high school football recruits in the classes of 2014 and 2015, more than 91 percent of those surveyed indicated they believed they should be able to text with college coaches in some fashion. The college coaching community is split on whether they should be able to text prospects without restrictions.
A subcommittee of the NCAA's Leadership Council also proposed prohibiting a school's staff members from attending an all-star game and from having in-person contact with recruits participating in all-star games from the time the recruit arrives until he returns home.
The rule, if passed, would effectively eliminate college coaches from being able to visit with prospects after high school football all-star games such as the Under Armour All-America Game and the U.S. Army Bowl. In years past, college coaches would flock to the hotel lobbies at those games to visit with recruits and their families.
The Leadership Council will review the proposal on texting at its Oct. 23-24 meeting in Indianapolis. If it endorses the measure, it will be sent to the Board of Directors for adoption at its Oct. 30 meeting. If approved, it would be effective immediately. The proposal on contact at all-star games will be reviewed by the Legislative Council for an initial review and sponsorship later this month. If it's sponsored, it will be put to a first vote at the 2014 NCAA convention in January.