Can Fans Receive Recruiting Violations?


This is part 2 of a 2 part post on fans and recruiting. The first part was about how much fans “influence” recruits and you can find that post here

Fans are always looking for ways to help their team, whether it is screaming at home games to help their defense or donating money to their schools athletic fund. Fans love to see their team or their university succeed not only in winning championships but also in landing big-time recruits.

Fans often will bring NCAA recruiting violations on their school and not even realize it. According to, a few years ago there was a huge facebook group that was titled “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!!” and hundreds of people jumped on board with this page. As soon as the NCAA found out about it, a cease and desist letter was sent to the creator. Who later changed the name to “Bring a National Title back to NC STATE!” but still was not shy about the fact they wanted John Wall. The page still implied that John Wall was the guy to bring that national title as he was the profile picture.

These are secondary violations and fairly minor violations. In fact, the NCAA even recognizes that most fans may not

realize that they are causing a recruiting violation. This statement is on the NCAA website:

"Most NCAA recruiting violations are inadvertent. Problems can range from occasional improper phone calls and text messages to the more serious matters such as the funneling of cash and other illegal benefits to prospective student-athletes and their families."

This paragraph is specifically speaking in general about recruiting violations from coaches, staff, and fans but clearly “most NCAA recruiting violations are inadvertent” is important to note.

Fans are trying to help their school but sometimes end up hurting their school. Tennessee received a lot of heat from the NCAA on this topic when Tennessee was investigated for fan “recruiting”. And now the coaching staff is spending a lot of their time “putting out fires” and trying to control the fans from recruiting players.

However, this is impossible for any coaching staff or even the NCAA to control. How can they keep track of it all and at the same time prove that it is a fan of that particular university doing the recruiting and not a fan from the rival school with the intention to commit a recruiting violation. The opportunity is there for rivals to hurt as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

How is all of this possible?

"The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program.” ("

“A representative of the institution’s athletics interests” is a pretty broad term that can easily mean a booster or even a fan.

Many universities are coming out and trying to stop this, an aggressive approach to the problem. Kansas sent out on their facebook some guidelines to their fans. This information is also coming from

"• No fan may e-mail a prospect or post messages on a prospect’s MySpace, Facebook or similar Web site.• No fan may create an online group dedicated to convincing or encouraging a prospect to attend KU, even without directly contacting the prospect.• Fans may not contact prospects to tell them about “the great things KU has to offer,” even if they do not encourage them to come to KU.("

Therefore, is “ComeToUWJabaris” a recruiting violation? Yes but a very inadvertent one and one that the NCAA is having a hard time tracking down and controlling because who says it wasn’t an Oregon fan that made the twitter account?

Be careful when you “influence” or “recruit” an athlete whether it be on twitter, facebook, or email. While the rules need to be updated and changed as of now the NCAA says “NO” to these things.