Whereas rule changes in the past have often restricted access coaches had to prospects they're recruiting or players on their team, the pendulum has swung back in the other direction this year.
Coaches were able to evaluate prospects in person at NCAA-sanctioned events in April this year instead of just July. Another new NCAA rule also permits coaches to spend two hours per week instructing their players on the court for eight weeks in the summer.
The latest change takes effect Friday when coaches will be able to make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited text messages to recruits. That's a significant difference from the prior rule prohibiting text messages and allowing only one call per month from June 15 of after a prospect's sophomore year until July 31 after his junior year.
By and large, the reaction to the rule change among coaches has been positive. Here's a sampling from a handful of prominent coaches:
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins: I just learned to text last year. I'm kind of an old-fashioned kind of ball coach, I guess. I think there's been a lot of research and time put in, but honestly I think it's just too hard to keep track of. If you can't legislate it and you can't enforce it, you probably ought to just go ahead and make it legal. I think that's kind of what happened to prohibition, isn't it?
Kansas coach Bill Self: I think it's good. I do. We've got to the point where, and it's nobody's fault, but we have rules for the rules. The book has grown and everything. Anytime you can put yourself in a situation where there's more communication and you get to know families and recruits better, I think that's nothing but positive. I think that should help a ton. So I think it's positive. I think it's going to be more work for coaches, but I think the good far outweighs the bad.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott: I'm probably still on the fence. Having been the father of someone who went through the recruiting process, I've seen it from both sides. It can be a disruptive process if you allow it to become that, so I think it's going to be really important for our staff to make sure we do our due diligence in researching each individual and each family. Some will be intrigued by the fact that coaches can call every day and text every day, and there will be others that will prefer to have the recruitment take place on their schedule in a way they feel isn't disruptive to their family life. That research I think is going to be important as we get to know some of these guys.
Baylor coach Scott Drew: One thing thing any coach can tell you since caller ID came into effect is if recruits want to talk to you, they'll talk to you and if they don't, they won't. I don't think any profession likes paperwork. When all of us can save some trees and cut down on paper work from logging calls, I think that makes things easier. So I think all the rule changes have been very good. It's very rare you can get coaches to all agree they like rule changes, but I think you'll find that in this case.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg: The big thing in today's game is there are a lot of people involved in these kids' lives. You have to do the best job you can and try to make all the parties helping the kids make a choice comfortable with your situation. The new rule will make it much easier for us to have direct communication with the kid, which is the most important part. You can build that relationship with the kid. You may not make a mistake you would have otherwise made by not being able to talk to the kids as frequently as we'll be able to now.