Senior Writer

The Coach K-contact-with-recruit issue? Just plain silly


Will Coach K be whistled for anything more than a ticky-tack foul? Almost assuredly no. (Getty Images)  
Will Coach K be whistled for anything more than a ticky-tack foul? Almost assuredly no. (Getty Images)  

Mike Krzyzewski talked to a recruit on the phone last Tuesday night; my colleague Jeff Borzello wrote about it. So now Duke officials are investigating the incident and asking the NCAA whether their Hall of Fame coach violated a contact rule, and the story garnered national headlines all weekend.

In the end, it'll amount to little.

Duke will either be punished lightly or not at all.

This is not -- I repeat, is not -- a massive deal either way.

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But it is a story that includes the words Duke and Coach K and possible violation, and so here we are writing and talking and tweeting about it. The byproduct is fans of various schools tearing through the NCAA Division 1 manual and debating when, exactly, a coach is allowed to make contact with a prospect who is on the road with his summer team but technically in between events.

It has been a fun little pseudo-scandal, I guess. But mostly it has just served as a story that highlights the idea that the contact rules currently in place are silly and almost entirely unnecessary.

I hate them all.

I would get rid of them all.

Why we care when or how often coaches talk to prospects has never made much sense to me, and I felt that way even before every kid had a smartphone with caller ID and an unlimited texting plan. Once upon a time, excessive calls and texts were described as "intrusive" and banned because of it. But technology has advanced to the point where calls can be sent to voicemail pretty easily, numbers can be blocked when necessary and texts can be responded to or ignored in a matter of seconds.

There is nothing intrusive about a text message. In fact, that's my preferred form of communication. Cuts out all the chit-chat about the family and the weather and everything else. It's direct and to the point. You want me, text me. That coaches can't text recruits -- especially when they can email recruits -- is among the silliest contact rules on the books.

But they're all silly.

More to the point, they're all part of the NCAA manual that should be eliminated because they require compliance departments to police things that really don't need policing. Why not let coaches handle this on their own -- benefit from smart decisions and pay the price for bad ones? Not all recruits are the same. Some love the attention, others hate it. Some enjoy talking on the phone, others don't. Some like getting texts from coaches they just saw on television, others don't understand why a 52-year-old man would bother them at 10:30 at night.

Coaches ought to be able to navigate these issues on their own.

Call a kid who doesn't want to be called too much, you lose.

Don't call a kid who wants to be called enough, you lose.

This is the way we handle contact in our own lives, you know? If you don't call a needy girl enough, somebody else will beat you for her. If you call a girl who needs her space too much, she'll become disinterested quickly. If you keep calling a girl who doesn't want you calling her, she'll file a restraining order and you'll probably end up in court and labeled a stalker.

That's not good, clearly.

But at least what happens is totally up to us.

We don't need folks telling us how to handle contact.

And, best I can tell, college coaches don't really need it, either.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and college basketball insider for the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts an award-winning radio show in Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two sons and two dogs.

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