Debate continues over unlimited contact with basketball recruits

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2013 - 11:21 AM

With unlimited contact by college coaches to star recruits, does it promote bonding or exhaust players?


Star Tribune photo illustration by Tom Wallace and Billy Steve Clayton. Text recruiting of young athletes.


Recruiters fawning over Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones required the nation’s top-rated junior point guard to implement a new move of misdirection to his repertoire.

Upon each request for his phone number, Jones recites 10 digits that belong to his mother.

“They don’t need to call all day or night. Nothing over the top,” said Jones of college basketball coaches eager for his attention. “I definitely give out my mom’s phone number a lot.”

A change in NCAA rules in October 2011 reformed men’s basketball recruiting practices to allow unlimited contact with players beginning June 15 after their sophomore year. The deregulation unleashed limitless phone calls, text messages, e-mails and private messages on social networks to elite high school athletes such as Jones and other highly sought players.

The NCAA, which believed the changes would help coaches and recruits build stronger relationships and reduce influence of third parties such as AAU coaches, is also considering such deregulation in football and women’s basketball.

To manage the attention, star athletes sometimes utilize parents or coaches as intermediaries, or try to manage when and how often they can be contacted. But with cellphones as indispensable commodities, these teenagers often end up dealing with buzzing and ringing that they either have to answer or ignore.

“All … the … time,” said Rashad Vaughn of the frequency of incoming messages. The Cooper shooting guard, who has yet to narrow his college considerations, said he has received up to 30 messages in a single day. One night in January, he heard from coaches at North Carolina, Louisville, Florida, Iowa State and Baylor.

“It’s nice, I guess,” Vaughn said of the attention. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming.”

Reid Travis of DeLaSalle — a forward who, with Jones and Vaughn, is rated among ESPN’s top 40 recruits in the Class of 2014 — gets an average of five texts and three calls a day. Those rates are rising. Sometimes his phone responds with “no longer accepting calls at this time.”

“I try to get back to them on Sundays,” Travis said. “It can be overwhelming. But it’s just there.”

Debbie Jones was ready for the attention directed at her son.

“We had a plan, and that included calling coaches and telling them one text message or one phone call a week is enough,” she said.

Changing recruiting rules?

For now, NCAA Division I football and women’s basketball maintain limitations on when athletes can be contacted. But attention even during periods of approved communication can be intense. After an AAU tournament in Minneapolis last summer, Savanna Trapp — a 6-9 center on the Esko girls’ basketball team — spent the two-plus-hour drive home on the phone with college coaches.

Hopkins girls’ basketball All-America forward Nia Coffey was quickly turned off by persistent coaches and immediately involved her parents.

“The recruiting process is stressful enough and now that you can talk to players 24/7, it is even worse. It can be a bit much,” Coffey said. “There definitely should be rules to control that.”

The NCAA had been considering proposals to extend unlimited contact using various types of communication for football and women’s basketball recruiting, originally saying it had received only positive feedback since making the change to men’s basketball. But examples of communication overload similar to that experienced by Minnesota’s elite athletes now has the committee rethinking things.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
UCF 6:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia





question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters