Sunday, February 17, 2008

Unlimited Night and Weekend Minutes-The Kelvin Sampson Calling Plan

Indiana and coach Kelvin Sampson are the newest targets of the NCAA governing bodies. And of all the possible violations that can lead a program and their fanbase to have their hearts skip beats with fear, this is about exceeding the number of calls allowed to recruits.

Let me first begin by saying anyone who believes Sampson and Indiana are the only persons violating this rule, are the same ignorant people believing Reggie Bush is the only college football player to receive illegal benefits, the New England Patriots are the only NFL team to steal defensive signals, and steroid use in baseball is exclusive to Barry Bonds. The link between the aforementioned is not that they stand alone, but that they all got caught. But being one of many doesn’t make an infraction lesser or petty, since the NCAA does have this “calling rule” set in stone, and anyone in violation will gain an unfair advantage over those in compliance.

Fewer dropped calls than any other network

In case you’re wondering how a simple phone call can make a difference, you have to remember that we’re talking about the egos of high school kids. These are celebrities on campus, in their hometowns, and in many cases nationwide. Nothing strokes the ego more than feeling wanted by a college basketball power program. Coaches and recruiters set out to create a relationship between themselves and their possible future stars, which eventually includes a campus visit and a trip to the player’s home. But it’s the personal phone conversation that may keep them dangling on the hook, feeling that the head man of a big program is taking the time to call.

Eventually you reach your limit, and phone recruiting comes to an end. But what happens when another coach ignores the limitations, and continues to call? As a recruit, you feel the others have lost interest or the lone caller is the one caring the most, giving your ego the greatest stroke. He cares so much that he’s bending the rules, just to punch your digits.Exceeding the limit doesn't automatically give one program a player's ink on a letter of intent, seeing that the majority of the nation’s top recruits aren’t exactly flocking to Indiana or Oklahoma. But i may keep those schools on a player's short list, which is better than not being on their list at all. Maybe Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Ben Howland have better reception than Sampson. Who knows?

Usage Charges

Kelvin Sampson is a repeat offender. The alleged wrongdoing in Indiana was factual in Oklahoma. This speed dialer has already sacrificed a $500,000 raise in pay and one scholarship, simply because he couldn’t stay off the damn phone. And with this infraction, the Hoosiers themselves may be facing possible postseason bans, loss of scholarships, etc, etc. And for what? A phone call? You’ve gotta be kidding me!

This resembles a parent withholding a child’s allowance for excessive texting that ran the bill sky high. It looks like a parent grounding a child because they continually go over their monthly cell phone minutes, and you’re trying to teach them responsibility. But at least those are examples of fairness. If the NCAA comes down hard on Indiana over phone calls by a coach, let’s just categorize this under “cruel and unusual punishment”. The punishment should fit the crime, and anything harsh from the NCAA would not.

Go directly to the source. Impose a coaching ban on Sampson for a season. Force him to sit out or find work in South America. Habla espanol, Kelvin? You can even extend the punishment to the individuals that did the hiring, already knowing the man’s past. But to punish the University and it’s basketball program over phone usage is laughable, and would make the NCAA the joke of the sporting world.

Free upgrade

I’ll end this by saying the rule itself is ridiculous. Why is there a limit on phone calls made to recruits? Who has an overall advantage in this? If there’s a school out there that would drop out of the recruiting race because they ran out of change for the pay phone, they were never really in the hunt to begin with.After being bombarded by calls about the Dish Network, local paper subscriptions, auto and home refinancing, and winning those supposedly free vacations, I doubt a parent would complain about someone calling everyday to offer their child a free education. And I hardly doubt you would get complaints from the egotistic recruit, who happily walks his high school campus saying, “Georgetown called again last night. They’re all up on my sac right now”.

Is Kelvin Sampson a violator? Yes. Is the rule necessary? No. Well, unless there's someone out there that can tell me why we need this rule in place.

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