Coaches, start your speed dial.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Basketball prospects, switch cell phone to vibrate.
Beginning Friday, an NCAA rules change takes effect that will allow coaches to make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited text messages.
Quite a change from the current rule of no text messages and one call per month from June 15 after a prospect’s sophomore year to July 31 after his junior year and two calls per week started Aug. 1 after the junior season.
But at least one Big 12 coach doesn’t think prospects are going to be spending every waking hour on the phone with coaches.
"With Caller ID, if they don't want to talk to you they won't," said Baylor coach Scott Drew.
Open lines are better than closed, said Kansas coach Bill Self.
"Any time you can put yourself in a situation where there is more communication, where you can get to know the family and recruits, better it's a positive," Self said. "It should help a ton in the long run."
But Big 12 coaches who spoke on Thursday during an annual off-season teleconference were even more enthusiastic about a change that had already taken place.
For the first time, coaches can work with their players during the summer, if they're enrolled in summer school. Athletes can work with coaches for instruction, conditioning and weight training for two hours a day, up to eight hours a week. No more than two hours a week can be spent on instruction.
Before, coaches couldn't have contact until school started.
"We were supposed to be responsible for them 24 hours a day but not talk to them," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "This is very, very positive. I'd like to have a little more than two hours (instruction) access, but it's a step in the right direction."
There's a reason, Self said, that team grade-point averages tend to be higher in the fall than the spring.
"Sometimes when the season's over there's not as much contact," Self said. "Whenever you have more contact, kids to better in school."