Tuesday, April 23, 2013
New NCAA rules: The coaches' take
By ESPN.com staff
MINNETONKA, Minn. -- On Saturday afternoon, Bo Ryan sat with his peers on the baseline of a gymnasium in the Minneapolis suburbs and reflected on the changes in recruiting he has witnessed in recent years.
They've all come in bursts.
In the 1970s, he'd contact highly touted recruits on Sunday night. That was the best day to catch them at home, he said. Ryan, then an assistant under Bill Cofield, drove to the basketball offices, because long-distance phone calls were too expensive to make from home.
He employed the same strategy each weekend, too. He would track down a top recruit and then filibuster the conversation so that his rivals couldn't get to him.
"The key was getting the kid on the phone on a Sunday night and never letting him off, because there was no call waiting and every other coach that was calling him kept getting a busy signal," Ryan said. "It's changed an awful lot."
The young players he tracked at the NY2LA grassroots tournament over the weekend, however, are far more accessible now -- an about-face attributed to modern technology and recent rule changes. Last summer, the NCAA gave college basketball coaches the green light to call, text and message (via social media) -- without limitation -- all prospects who've completed their sophomore year in high school.
The change would create chaos, critics feared. What if coaches bombard kids with text messages all day and night? What if the athletes can't focus in school because they're too busy communicating with coaches?