The next big thing

I guess with pieces by Rivals and Sports Illustrated on the subject, we’ve entered the era when accessing Twitter and Facebook by college football coaches has gone mainstream.

That didn’t take long, did it?

Here’s a summary of the current state of affairs:

… Under NCAA rules, coaches in Division I and II can communicate with prospects via one-on-one messaging from social networking sites even if a recruit wants to receive the coach’s message as a text. Phone-to-phone text messages and instant messaging, even through a social networking site, remain off-limits. In 2007, Division III prohibited social networking in recruiting along with text messages.

The exception for direct messaging via social networking sites is a change of pace for coaches, who have seen their ability to contact and evaluate prospects curtailed in recent years. The NCAA banned coach-to-recruit text messaging in 2007. And last year, the NCAA barred head coaches from leaving campus to recruit during the spring evaluation period.

Coaches, though, question how long Facebook and Twitter will be permissible as a recruiting tool. Illinois coach Ron Zook, for one, wondered if social networking could be effectively policed or legislated.

“I’m not sure the NCAA understands exactly what it is,” he says. “I sure don’t.”

The ban on text messaging came after recruits complained the constant messages from coaches became too intrusive and too costly. The NCAA looks favorably on direct messaging on social networking sites since it allows prospects to avoid those two concerns. Setting up accounts on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace is free, and users can control how they want to receive messages through the site, by email or by text message. A user also can elect whether to receive messages from particular users.

It strikes me as a bit creepy for fifty year-old guys to be socially networking with seventeen year-olds, but if everyone is happy, who am I to argue?

Plus, there are always the spontaneous uses of Facebook that we can all get behind. (h/t Swamp Things)


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