College sports are big business, so recruiting student athletes is big business. The NCAA limits the times coaches and recruiters can call or visit athletes, but text messages are all fair game. For now.
The Chronicle of Higher Education explained in an October 2006 story:
Before Chandler Parsons committed to play basketball for the University of Florida, his cellphone buzzed more than 100 times a day with text messages from college coaches.
The attention flattered the 6-foot-9 high-school senior from Winter Park, Fla. His cellular plan included unlimited text messages, so the onslaught did not run up his bill. And in some cases, the quick exchanges helped him get to know prospective coaches.
But the novelty soon wore off. “All these different coaches would text me saying the same thing,” he says, like “Hey, great game,” or “Look forward to hearing from you soon.” To make room for new messages, he had to empty his inbox twice a day. “It got a little crazy,” he says.
Now, the NCAA has proposed a ban on text messaging and is set to vote on the measure today.
Whatever the vote, it’s clear coaches had not only tapped into a loophole in NCAA rules, they’re following the trend in communications. A 2004 study in South Korea revealed a preference for texting over emailing, with two-thirds of students saying they rarely email, but SMS messages were up 40% year over year. A July 2005 Pew Internet Study found US teens preferring texting (via IM and SMS) over email — “email is increasingly seen as a tool for communicating with ‘adults.’”