No, this isn't a rant about performance-enhancing drugs. Nor is it about new camera techniques to be debuted at Superbowl XL. It's actually about the communications method of choice for many teens -- text messaging.
Today is signing day for NCAA football teams, when we see where the top high school seniors will be playing in the fall. As more and more NCAA programs become competitive, the fight for top recruits is more vicious than ever, and a simple cell phone technology is helping coaches evade contact restriction rules imposed by the NCAA. Here's how USA Today put it:
A coach can contact a football recruit by phone once during the player's junior year and once a week starting Sept. 1 of his senior year, and the NCAA initially categorized text messages as telephone calls with the same type of restrictions. But the NCAA's Academics-Eligibility-Compliance Cabinet's subcommittee on recruiting submitted an amendment, effective Aug. 1, 2004, to permit text messages to be considered general correspondences.
The intent, NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said, was to allow schools to take advantage of technology and provide greater flexibility in recruiting because a prospect can choose whether to respond to a text message but has limited choice in responding to phone calls.
"The current legislation states that an unlimited number of text messages may be sent or received because there is no limitation on the number of times general correspondence may be sent to a prospect," Christianson said by e-mail.
Nothing, of course, restricts a coach from text messaging a high school student with the message "Call me." Or from e-mailing every morning with a greeting, as U. of Florida Coach Urban Meyer is said to do in the article. Some are saying the exception has led to abuse, with students being harassed by coaches via text messaging.
Perhaps we need a do-not-text-message list, at least for those student athletes who don't like the attention and don't like text messaging.
Are there any?