That’s right your favorite college team (including our beloved Gators0 are likely playing with ineligible players. Its not just because one of them might have taken money or received illegal benefits either.
The NCAA has strict policy rules for how coaches and representatives from a University can communicate with recruits and now explicit policy exists for social media. You can read about those communication rules regarding social media on the NCAA Website.
But did you know many of these rules extend to the general public? Fans, media, business entities, and blog sites included?! We witness violations every day via the Bourbon Meyer twitter account. It happens all over the internet and is most highly visible on Twitter and Facebook. Based on NCAA policy many recruits/commits and current players should be ruled ineligible and not be able to play.
Summarizing the policy, it basically states that when a “representative of the institutions athletics interests” tries to recruit prospects (whether in-person, by phone, via the internet, etc), that renders the prospect ineligible.
So I know what you are thinking I’m not “representative” of the University and either is my blog or facebook account. And how is me tweeting my favorite recruit or commit telling him how great it is going to be to see him in <insert favorite collegiate teams’ colors> a big deal. Well actually according to the NCAA you count and its a big deal:
A “representative of the institution’s athletics interests” is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to:
(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program;
(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.
But this goes on everyday. Recent examples are Austin Rivers to Duke and John Wall’s overall recruitment. To read more about these examples you can read Dave Seminara’s Article.
University’s are policing this a bit via cease and desist letters, but we have yet to hear of any athlete being told they are ineligible due to a fans tweet or facebook status. An industrious Gator fan needs to start a few sites and facebook pages aimed at Seminole recruits/commits. We aren’t condoning it but it wouldn’t be a bad idea right?