I used to believe coaches who rejected technology were working at a disadvantage given the role it plays in recruiting. But now I'm starting to wonder if ignorance isn't actually a blessing, because it seems the best way to ensure a long career in college athletics is to never use a cell phone to make a call or send a text message.
Technology is killing the basketball coach.
That's what I'm trying to say.
"I guarantee u if [Hanner Perea] does [commit to another school] he will be in Colombia for the spring and summer and next year. Don't forget it."
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That's a text message -- yes, it's a text that appears to imply a threat of deportation -- Baylor assistant Mark Morefield sent to a Colombian prospect's high school coach in Indiana this summer, according to a report at FoxSports.com. The text is one of many impermissible messages sent from Morefield's phone that's led to an NCAA investigation into Baylor's program. Combined with previous transgressions, it seems capable of ending Morefield's tenure at the Big 12 institution.
So my question is simple: When will these guys learn?
Morefield had to know the moment he sent that text that he'd given another human ammo to ruin his career, just like Bruce Pearl had to know the same when he posed for a picture in his home with a high school junior, just like every coach ever busted for excessive calls had to know their phone records could undo them. And yet they do it anyway because they're either arrogant, desperate or idiotic. In some cases, all three words apply.
The Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger scandal is similar.
I thought my colleague Gregg Doyel summarized it well.
"Sexting as a married man is like walking with your back to traffic," Doyel Tweeted. "Your survival is no longer up to you."
Coaches, agents and boosters learned decades ago that it's wise to deal in cash when trying to illegally lure prospects because it leaves no paper trail, but for some reason these same people struggle with the concept of a digital fingerprint. They fail to realize and/or care that the existence of every call and text is recorded for the NCAA to see, and that any messages sent from a phone quickly arrives in somebody else's phone. It's one thing to make a verbal threat in person because that threat can always be denied (provided it wasn't secretly recorded). It's another thing -- i.e., a stupid thing -- to send a threat via text message because denying the threat ceases to be an option when somebody saves the threat and forwards it to the NCAA.
Don't ever send a text you'd be embarrassed for somebody else to see and don't ever leave a voicemail you'd be embarrassed for somebody else to hear. The moment you do either is the moment you lose control of your own future, and if college coaches didn't learn this from Tiger Woods and Brett Favre, surely they can learn it from one of their own.
His name is Mark Morefield.
Technology mixed with stupidity has jeopardized his career.