Emptying my notebook on a Friday morning
It's unfortunate the NCAA approved the measure it did Thursday banning text messaging as a recruiting tool beginning next school year. Having investigated the matter thoroughly for a column I wrote last year, I understand the concern that texting can be invasive to prospective athletes, but an outright ban is an overreaction by an organization that continues to operate in the dark.
I could write for days about how foolish the new policy is, but the bottom line is texting is the primary means of communication for today's high school- and college-aged kids in all walks of life not just recruiting circles. I don't buy the argument that it's a financial burden to families (unlimited text plans are like $5 and whoever pays the bill can always have texting turned off) and I think the benefits (ease of communication, ability by the recipient to control the message) far outweigh the downsides. A more simple solution would have been to restrict texting's use to after-school hours on weekdays and from 8-8 on weekends. With any luck, the suits who dreamed up the legislation will be scrolling through their BlackBerrys one day when they realize just how stupid it is. ...
Good to see John Beilein settled his buyout with West Virginia for what amounts to the after-tax money he would have made had he stayed on as Mountaineers coach. This could have got messy for both sides, though Beilein has no one but himself to blame for sticking such a strict buyout in his contract.
I know Beilein has said he'll be the one paying West Virginia its $1.5 million, but deep down I have to believe Michigan or some well-to-do booster will come through with the funds. In fact, it's stunning that an athletic department like Michigan's would make its second most-recognizable employee pay his own buyout. I thought that's what signing bonuses were for. ...
Lastly, got an email from a reader the other day with a link (see below) to a website listing the spring football game attendances for every school in the country. Michigan State checked in tied for 11th with 25,000 people. I was there, that was an accurate estimate, and when you realize that's more people than showed up for the games at Georgia, Oklahoma, Clemson, LSU, Tennessee, USC and Michigan (by about 20,000) you realize just how impressive that was.
I'm draft duty the rest of the weekend and will try to blog from the Lions' Allen Park facility, but there's no wireless there so that makes it tough. If nothing else, I'll check back in next week before I head off for a little vacation.