You better take a screenshot if you want people to believe you're being recruited by John Calipari.
In what is pretty much the most "2014" news ever, the NCAA will begin allowing colleges to start recruiting student-athletes via SnapChat, per its latest educational column:
In basketball and men's ice hockey, any type of electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g., e-mail, facsimile, instant message, text message, SnapChat, etc.) may be sent to a prospective-student athlete, provided the correspondence is sent directly to the prospective student-athlete (or his or her parents or legal guardians) and is private between the sender and recipient. Once a prospective student-athlete signs a NLI or an institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid or after the institution receives a financial deposit from the prospective student-athlete in response to the institution's offer of admission, the institution may communicate publicly with that prospective student-athlete.
The policy starts later this year, according to the University of Texas' compliance office:
NCAA says SnapChat permissible to use for recruiting correspondence in Basketball & most other sports beg. 8/1. This should be interesting.— Texas Compliance (@TexasCompliance) February 11, 2014
For the uninitiated, SnapChat is an app that allows users to send their friends—or potential point guards—photos that will be erased from existence after anywhere from five to 10 seconds. Unless, of course, the receiver takes a screenshot and saves it forever.
As such, this is clearly a bizarre development that opens up the opportunity for some hilarious hypothetical situations.
ESPN's Mark Ennis has perhaps the best such one:
Ho ho ho imagining a snapchat from Frank Martin.— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) February 11, 2014
WRAL News' Tyler Dukes and radio host Joe Ovies, however, bring up a more important point than Frank Martin stone-faced SnapChats: How will the NCAA enforce compliance rules if there's no evidence of the pictures being sent?
Unless player screen grabs, they can’t. RT @mtdukes: Wait, wait, wait. How will NCAA police Snapchat messages to ensure compliance?— Joe Ovies (@joeovies) February 11, 2014
Considering the nature of SnapChat, it's hard to imagine this development not resulting in some type of recruiting scandal at some point in the near future. It simply lends itself to potentially shady activity.
Moreover, though, this is another example of how recruiting continues to rapidly change—and how coaches must adapt. We've recently seen how Twitter and other social-media sites have started to make a bigger impact on recruiting, and this is just another step in that direction.
Some coaches and recruiters, fearful of any potential recruiting violations, might not touch SnapChat. But as prospective student-athletes become more technologically focused, some recruits out there might be reached most easily via self-erasing pictures.
It's a pretty sad thought, but as the Louisville Courier-Journal's Adam Himmelsbach noted, that means the job description for coaches is also changing:
I want to hear an AD interviewing a potential coach, "How are you with Snapchat tho?"— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 11, 2014
While that's partly a tongue-in-cheek statement, this SnapChat news is just another reminder that if coaching staffs want to contend for the nation's top young players, they better be well-versed in the newest technological trends.