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Thursday, June 14, 2012
O'Neill chimes in on new texting rule

By Pedro Moura

Beginning at midnight tonight, the NCAA men's basketball recruiting world as we know it is going to change dramatically.

The conduit to the change? Unlimited texting. A new NCAA rule that goes into effect on June 15 allows men's basketball coaches to text and call recruits as often as they want, as long as the prospects have finished their sophomore year of high school.

USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill said it's an overdue adjustment to rules that have become outdated in recent years. Until Friday, according to NCAA rules, coaches could only call recruits once a month until after their junior years and never text them.

"I think it's a really good rule," O'Neill said in a phone interview Thursday. "Players can make their own decisions whether to answer phones or not, and it cuts out all this monitoring of phone calls and all this ridiculousness that's been going on."

The rule change will also level the playing field, O'Neill speculated.

"Here's the other thing," he said. "Don't think that there haven't been a lot of coaches who've been calling unlimited for a long time.

"At least now you can do it legally."

O'Neill said the mad rush tonight to text recruits is going to mirror pro sports' officials lining up at top free agents' doors at the kickoff of free agency each offseason. But he plans to stay away for a bit and then jump in a little bit later.

"They're not gonna get so many texts at midnight tonight, they're not even gonna read them," O'Neill said. "I'm going to wait a couple days to start calling all these guys and texting them."