NCAA deregulates coaches' texts, calls to recruits
Coaches can now pick up their smartphones without trepidation.
Starting Friday, Division I men's basketball coaches will be able to send unlimited texts and make unlimited calls to recruits who have wrapped up their sophomore year of high school. The NCAA will also allow coaches to send private messages to prospective players through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It all means that sending a recruit an LOL (laugh out loud) will no longer get you a TTYL (talk to you later) from the NCAA.
The NCAA is allowing coaches to text, tweet and talk to their hearts' content because, as Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden put it, the organization "recognized the evolving nature of communication with students."
In essence, coaches can finally get with the times without getting into trouble.
"I really believe it will help. I'm excited about it. And I think it's going to be good, more so than the texts, just the ability to call and making sure to have that direct verbal communication," Memphis Coach Josh Pastner said.
The new rule was adopted by the Division I Board of Directors last October after being recommended by its leadership council. The NCAA realized that coaches were having a tougher time than ever building relationships with recruits who already know their way around social media and then some.
What was even more worrisome was that while coaches had their thumbs tied behind their backs, third parties were using new technology to get to recruits more easily than ever.
"I think it's a win-win for everybody," Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith said. "Kids, they all have cellphones where they can identify who's calling. They can pick up the phone or not. That gives you an indication about where you stand."
Dalton settling in as Bengals' leader
If a receiver runs the wrong route, Andy Dalton isn't shy about taking him aside and correcting the problem.
The quarterback is more comfortable with his role as a leader entering his second season with the Cincinnati Bengals, taking more responsibility on his inexperienced shoulders. He was so concerned about learning the play book as a rookie last season that he left a lot of things up to his coaches and teammates.
There was a clear difference during the Bengals' three-day mini-camp that ended Thursday.
"I think he's just more comfortable or confident," offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "He's not walking into a situation where who knows if the other starter's coming back, if he's going to have to play and all these other things he had to have in the back of his mind.
"Now he knows it's his team and we're rallying behind him and we'll go as far as he takes us. He has that feeling."
The second-round pick from TCU took the Bengals to the playoffs last season, where they lost to Houston in the first round. That was big stuff around Cincinnati, which has had only three winning records since 1991.
Both Dalton and rookie receiver A.J. Green — Cincinnati's first-round pick — made the Pro Bowl.
"I was trying to get the next play or trying to do things like that, and I let the coaches handle it," Dalton said of last season. "Right now, I feel like I can go over there and say something because the next play is second nature. I think I've done a better job this spring. If a guy runs a route a little differently, instead of letting a coach do it, I'm going to go over there and talk to him. Things like that, where we make sure we're on the same page."
Dalton threw for 3,398 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season, including a 332-yard game at Denver that set a Bengals passing record for a rookie. His 80.4 passer rating was the best by an AFC rookie.
"I feel like everybody on this team understands and knows what they're going to get out of me," Dalton said. "This year I am able to step out a little bit more. I was able to prove myself a little bit last year, and now everyone knows and understands we're going to be on the same page, and I can voice that a little bit more.
"I probably should have done a little better job last year, but there were a lot of other things that were on my mind. But this year, I'm comfortable with everybody that we've got."
"Andy has looked good," Green said. "He's more comfortable out there. He knows it's his team this year."
Sports in the courts
Sandusky accuser: I screamed for help
The prosecution's case in Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse trial neared its conclusion on Thursday in Bellefonte, Pa., after just four days of testimony, with three more accusers taking the witness stand, including a young man who said the former Penn State assistant football coach raped him as a teen guest in Sandusky's home.
The eighth accuser to testify told jurors the abuse began with fondling and forced oral sex and led to several instances of rape in the basement of Sandusky's Centre County home, where he spent more than 100 nights and where his muffled screams went unanswered by Sandusky's wife, Dottie, who was upstairs. He said he figured the basement must be soundproof.
"He got real aggressive and just forced me into it," said the young man, now 18 and a recent high school graduate. "And I just went with it — there was no fighting against it."
He said under cross-examination by Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola that the attacks sometimes left him bleeding but that he never sought medical attention.
"I just dealt with it," he said.
Another accuser told jurors Sandusky called himself the "tickle monster" before embracing him in a shower.
Also testifying was Anthony Sassano, an investigator with the attorney general's office, who disclosed that the office learned of a key witness, Mike McQueary, after an anonymous letter was sent to Centre County prosecutors.
Judge John Cleland told jurors there would be no court Friday and to return Monday.
Track and field
Gay, Gatlin to race in Paris meet
American sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin will compete at the French stage of the Diamond League meeting July 6. Organizers said world-record holder Usain Bolt will miss the Areva meet in Paris.
Gay, a Lexington native, returned to competition last week after hip surgery last July, running the 100 meters in 10.0 seconds at the Adidas Grand Prix. He will race in the U.S. Olympic trials this month. To make the U.S. squad for the London Games, he has to finish in the top three at trials.
Spain routs Ireland; Italy, Croatia draw
Fernando Torres scored a goal in each half Thursday in Poland to help defending champion Spain get a 4-0 win over Ireland and eliminate the Irish from the European Championship. In the day's other matchup, Italy sat back and paid for it in a 1-1 draw with Croatia. Andrea Pirlo gave Italy the lead with a curving free kick in the 39th minute but Mario Mandzukic hit the equalizer in the 72nd.
The last word
After four drivers posted laps of over 200 mph during a morning test session, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle was asked if the fast new track at Michigan International Speedway might be good for the sport:
"Certainly this doesn't hurt us. We don't want to kill anybody, either, so we've got to walk that fine line of not killing people and creating excitement."