Boys basketball: BSU coach Pete Lembo speaks at Sportsmanship Banquet
By MIKE HUTTON 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2013 10:24PM
SCHEREVILLE — Ball State football coach Pete Lembo has already spent plenty of time kicking around the idea of exactly how his staff is going to handle the new rules that will go into effect in July for texting and making phone calls to recruits.
It wasn’t a discussion that Lembo really wanted to have.
“We have already started those discussions,” he said. “There are only so many hours in the day that you and the support staff can focus on recruiting. You can’t focus on it 100 percent of the time.”
The NCAA essentially deregulated the contact period for coaches, allowing them unlimited phone calls and text messages to recruits. The rules now limit contact for all high school students. For instance, a coach can only call a junior prospect in basketball twice a week and he is prohibited from texting them. A coach can now have unlimited contact via telephone or texting starting sophomore year. The idea behind the deregulation is meant to simplify the rule book and let players and their families set guidelines on how a student athlete is recruited.
Lembo, who was in town for the Sportsmanship Banquet at Villa Cesare Banquet Hall in Schereville, said the rule favors the high revenue schools, who will now start to add staff to connect with kids via social media in creative ways.
“The haves — the programs with $90 million budgets — are going to budget personnel to on this,” he said. “The have not’s won’t be able to keep pace.”
For Lembo, the key to recruiting success will be to focus on finding kids that fit the BSU niche.
He targeted kids from winning high school programs that were team captains this year. The Cardinals signed 21 players and 14 of them were team captains. Ten of the kids they signed were from programs that won at least ten games.
Lembo’s biggest concern about the unlimited contacts is for the kids. There are some coaches who will over text and call do anything to get their pitch to a recruit.
Most kids will know not to call back or send a text if they aren’t interested.
Some may not.
“I have some concerns for the student athletes,” he said. “The student getting called out of class more and getting more phone calls. I think it could have a negative impact on academics for the students and a negative impact for the coaches.”