I follow a few university compliance departments on Twitter. Most don't say much, but they do occasionally put out some interesting things from a side of college sports we all try not to focus on too much.
This morning, Tennessee's compliance department tweeted out a great reminder of how dumb some NCAA rules are:
NCAA rules prohibit you from responding to holiday texts from prospects. (e.g. "Merry Christmas", "Happy New Year", etc.)— UT Compliance (@UTCompliance) December 18, 2012
Confusion happens bc coaches believe they may respond to a text sent by a PSA just like they may respond to an email— UT Compliance (@UTCompliance) December 18, 2012
Be cautious when responding to unfamiliar numbers— UT Compliance (@UTCompliance) December 18, 2012
You're reading this correctly. If a coach gets a holiday greeting in a text message from an unknown number, responding to it in any fashion could be an NCAA violation because text messages are categorically different under the rules from email. Never mind the fact that emails are messages made of text and neither they nor SMS has a manifestation outside the world of electronics.
Yes, the NCAA is woefully out of touch with the way that the athletes it regulates communicate, and a coach merely replying to an unfamiliar "Merry Christmas" can generate paperwork for the compliance department. It's amazing people put up with the NCAA at all sometimes.