Do we really have to say that any potential ban on text-messaging recruits, or limits, or anything else governing digital communication between recruits and coaches will be happily trampled with three seconds worth of inventiveness?
HUZZAH FOR THE NCAA INTERVENING PROTECTING THE POOR, SLOW-THUMBED ATHLETE WHO LIKE PAVLOV'S DOG SLOBBERS AND HELPLESSLY ANSWERS HIS PHONE EACH TIME A TEXT MESSAGE COMES IN! [/hectoring columnist.]
There's a period of adjustment to any technology. Initially, you answered every piece of mail that came in your mailbox. Then advertisements, junk mail, odd sample issues of magazines you'd never subscribe to (SI? Not until they bring the football phone back, dammit), and that regular update from International Male your friends so helpfully signed you up for in 1998.
And now you throw half the shit in the trash without looking. Ultimately, that's what recruits will do with text messages, just as they've done with phone calls. They'll talk with whomever they want, and ditch the rest. Intervention is dumb, clumsy, sloppy, and short-sighted.
Declarative and hopelessly obvious commentary concluded, we now move to the post text-messaging world of college recruiting. With digital means excluded, coaches will have to revisit the world of analog signals transmission. A few of our suggestions follow:
Big! Loud! Kids love 'em, dogs bark at 'em, and you know you secretly want one of your own to terrorize the skies with. Ideal for impressing recruits with over their practice fields with the message "(INSERT RECRUIT NAME HERE)'S A PIMP."
When restraining orders limit you to the school parking lot, there's always semaphore. Penn State obviously holds the edge in this department already, since Joe Paterno's never stopped using it. Here he is warming up his form in the parking lot last season:
Downside: requires someone else who understands semaphore on the other end. Otherwise, you just look like a flag-waving color guard member with St. Vitus' Dance.
Motorcycle Courier. It worked for Paul Van Riper in Millenium Challenge 02--why wouldn't it work for your Division 1 football coach?
Mack Brown and Texas may claim a richly deserved advantage here, as Mack Brown's father once served this exact role as a dashing sergeant in the United States Signal Corps in World War Two, delivering Joseph Stilwell's laundry orders across Chungking and back through chaotic Chinese traffic with a "dervish-like speed," according to the general's memoirs.
How he maintained such a fine crease in his trousers in sweltering Sichuan heat we'll never know. All we know is that there's quite a family resemblance, and that we really, really miss our motorcycle.
P.S. Joseph Stilwell is our favorite general evah. Anyone who called Chiang Kai-Shek "Peanut" has our respect.