I receive the question from time to time about recruiting violations over Twitter and Facebook. Specifically, it is often phrased: “If I contact a recruit over twitter is that a recruiting violation?” The answer is not simple, this is a loaded question.
I did a two-part series in September on this exact topic. I encourage you to read both parts. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. It breaks it down as best as I know how but I decided since I still receive this question from time to time I would rehash some of the major points.
1. Recruiting by fans is not allowed.
In no way can a fan recruit a player. Fans aren’t supposed to contact in a means to sell the school you support. Fans need to leave the recruiting to the coaches. If a fan contacts a player over twitter with the means of saying how great their school is, this is not allowed, and it is an NCAA violation.
For example: If @UWFAN983728 on twitter messages @jabariparker and says, “UW is the best! Good program, puts you in the NBA, good looking girls, etc. COME!” This is a blatant NCAA violation and it puts that player and the program at risk.
2. Twitter, Facebook, Texting, Email, all count as contacting a recruit.
Social media is not exempt to this rule. The problem is not only seeking them out in real life but it is contacting them in anyway. Twitter is where the most violations happen, followed by Facebook.
If you contact and sell your school in anyway, it is violation.
3. The NCAA is struggling to keep up with this rule.
The NCAA rules committee is not able to keep up with how many violations occur on the internet from fans and recruits. This rule is often rarely enforced by the NCAA but that doesn’t make it any less of a rule. And one thing you know to be true is that eventually they will catch up and when they do, they will be shutting things down.
Even if they don’t catch up they are still trying to hone in on this issue and they will be busting people/recruits/universities almost at random. It is better to stay away from this.
You will see it all the time if you follow recruits on twitter but that doesn’t make it right.
4. There is a gray area.
This causes a huge gray area to be existent in this rule. Contacting recruits with the idea of selling your school is not allowed. However, the gray area is interacting with recruits without the intention of selling your school is technically legal but frowned upon.
Many recruits love to tweet and love to get responses from their followers. If a recruit tweets out a “what is your favorite food?” and you respond with “pizza”, this isn’t a recruiting violation but it is a gray area.
I may be wrong about this part but in reading and re-reading the rules, this is what I understand of the rules about contacting recruits.
This is how I understand the rules as they exist but it is something the NCAA needs to address because it is getting out of hand.