Baxter’s Blitz

Unlimited texting, unlimited pressure on high school athletes

scvarsity@ sc.rr.comMarch 27, 2013 

Jim Baxter

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com Buy Photo

SOCIAL MEDIA HAS changed the way recruits communicate with coaches. Additionally, a college’s fanbase now has nearly unlimited access prospects that the school may be recruiting.

In January, the NCAA board of directors approved a long list of rule changes dealing with recruiting, including no more improper phone calls, illegal text messages, dead periods or quiet periods.

This could make it near-impossible to regulate recruiting.

In a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was quoted as saying, “Recruiting is about relationships and communications — and social media is a big part of it right now. I think it’s huge. I don’t do a big part of it myself, but my staff does a lot of it. We’ve very involved in all that stuff.”

Prior to January, there were rules that could at least limit contact through social media outlets.

For instance, during the time where text messaging recruits was not permitted, if a recruit had chosen to receive text updates from his social network account, that coach could not contact the player through that service, as it would have been considered an illegal text contact, despite originating on the social network.

With the new rules, it appears that coaches will be able to not only go back to texting, but also contacting players through social network accounts.

This may be a good thing for coaches in terms of recruiting, but a very bad thing for the student-athletes. The best prospects will be getting text messages all day long, especially with no dead period. Their privacy will evaporate, unless their accounts are set to private.

This is a bad thing for recruiting — for players and coaches.

There already is too much pressure on the players, often placed by the recruiters, with the limited contact that they had prior to these changes. That pressure will only increase, especially since their recruiting is taking place in open forums now.

For coaches? Their social life as they knew it is gone. Recruiting, with no limit on contact and no dead periods, will be even more of a full-time proposition for every member of a coaching staff if they want to stay competitive.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH

Zykiesis Zachiesis Cannon, athlete, Carolina High (2014): Cannon is a fierce competitor on both sides of the ball. In 10 games, he caught 52 balls for 1,084 yards with 16 touchdowns. He rushed 17 times for 133 yards and returned two punt for touchdowns. He had 108 tackles on defense. He has offers from East Carolina, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Louisville.

R.J. Tyler, tight end, Wagener-Salley High (2014): Tyler, at 6-4, 235, is a big target in the passing game, but his blocking skill set is his selling point. He has an offer from Appalachian State, and more are sure to come.

John Miller, athlete, Spring Valley High (2014): Played running back due to injuries in 2012, rushing for 1,284 yards and 22 touchdowns, and had 464 yards in receptions. At 5-10, 170, he is being recruited as a slot receiver.

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