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You (yes, you) may have committed an NCAA violation without even knowing it

Apr 18, 2012, 12:14 PM EDT

JimBoeheim Getty Images

The joke, framed in the context of a phony quote, goes as follows:

“I’ve decided to commit to School X because some man on Twitter told me I should.” – No Recruit Ever.

Check out your Twitter feed. Is anyone desperately “@ mentioning” a high-major recruit, nearly begging him to attend School X for A, B, C, and D reasons?

I’ll apologize for being the first to break the news, but your tweet won’t sway his decision one way or the other. A complex network of college coaches, AAU coaches, and high school coaches, along with geographical factors, family concerns, and team issues will not be pushed aside in favor of a expertly crafted 140-character message.

Now, as The Daily O’Collegian points out, not only could you be wasting your time, but you are also committing an NCAA violation.

“As soon as you contact a recruit and try to persuade them to come to your school, you automatically become a booster because you are helping a recruit come to a specific institution,” Ben Dyson, the assistant athletic director of compliance at Oklahoma State told the newspaper. “Boosters aren’t allowed to recruit prospective student-athletes.”

It’s understandable how and why this problem arises.

Twitter is about accessibility. Athletes have always been behind a metaphorical curtain, always filtered through a television camera or accessed by only those with a press pass. With social media, that curtain disappears.

One of the more notable cases happened recently, when ESPN personality Ryan Burr, a Syracuse graduate, sent a message to “Nerelins Noel,” pointing out the fact that Fab Melo would be leaving for the NBA draft, leaving an opening in the middle for Noel to fill.

The tweet was deleted.

The real absurdity, though, is in how the NCAA will try to monitor and enforce this rule.

It seems, as long as schools act in good faith, occasionally trying to send out reminders to fans that attempting to lure recruits is impermissible, they should not be held accountable.

It would be impossible to police the entire Twitterverse, making sure no fans does not tweet at any recruits.

“We’ve had young men who have showed up on recruiting list late in recruiting in January, and he gets 500 hits that night on Twitter, ‘Come to Oklahoma State,’ or whatever,” Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State’s football coach is quoted as saying in the piece. “There is not anything to concern ourselves about because there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t stop people from posting on Twitter.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_