Now that National Signing Day has come and gone, it may be a little late to approach the topic of recruiting and the fan role in it for this cycle, but it’s never too late to learn. Every year when season ticket holders receive their tickets, they are always accompanied with a pamphlet outlining do’s and dont’s. Most folks toss it aside and pay it no further attention. That’s why some of the fine print appears on the back of each individual ticket. I would like to outline a few things that I see a lot of. Most of the potential issues arise on social media, but it isn’t limited to it.
Social media has provided anyone and everyone with access to the internet to have a megaphone, and it has also connected everyday fans and rival fans to high school athletes who may be targeted recruits. Years ago, before all of these avenues of communication were possible, the potential for breaking some of these rules were mitigated. The guidelines provided by the NCAA currently are vague in certain areas and compliance personnel are working to catch up.
First and foremost, fans need to be very careful of their interaction with prospective student athletes. Some violations, although seemingly minor, are being committed by the unaware daily. It would be a shame for an aspiring student athlete to have a career hampered by the good intentions of fans trying to communicate reasons to attend the school that they support. If you are contacting recruits and you are not sanctioned to do so………..STOP.
I’ve pasted various excerpts from the NCAA guidelines with their respective locations therein.
According to the NCAA rulebook:
13.01.1 Eligibility Effects of Recruiting Violation. The recruitment of a student-athlete by a member
institution or any representative of its athletics interests in violation of the Association’s legislation, as acknowledged by the institution or established through the Association’s enforcement procedures, shall result in the student-athlete becoming ineligible to represent that institution in intercollegiate athletics. The Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement may restore the eligibility of a student involved in such a violation only when circumstances clearly warrant restoration. A student is responsible for his or her involvement in a violation of NCAA regulations during the student’s recruitment, and involvement in a major violation (see Bylaw 19.02.2.2) may cause the student to become permanently ineligible for intercollegiate athletics competition at that institution.
13.01.2 Institutional Responsibility in Recruitment. A member of an institution’s athletics staff or
a representative of its athletics interests shall not recruit a prospective student-athlete except as permitted by this Association, the institution and the member conference, if any.
As you can see, the verbiage is broad as it relates to representatives of a school. The term is further defined elsewhere:
(6.4.2 Representatives of Athletics Interests & 13.02.14)
(a) Has participated in or is a member of an agency or organization as described in Constitution 6.4.1;
(b) Has made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution; (*This includes ticketholders) -Drew
(c) Has been requested by the athletics department staff to assist in the recruitment of prospective student athletes or is assisting in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
(d) Has assisted or is assisting in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes; or
(e) Is otherwise involved in promoting the institution’s athletics program. (*This includes radio hosts & bloggers) -Drew
18.104.22.168.1 Representatives of Athletics Interests. Representatives of an institution’s athletics interests
(as defined in Bylaw 13.02.14) are prohibited from making telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians
22.214.171.124 Electronic Transmissions. Electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent to a prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete’s parents or legal guardians) is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles. (See Bylaw 126.96.36.199.) All other forms of electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g., Instant Messenger, text messaging) are prohibited. (*This includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc….) – Drew
188.8.131.52 Letter-of-Intent Signing. Any in-person, off-campus contact made with a prospective student athlete for the purpose of signing a letter of intent or other commitment to attend the institution or attendance at activities related to the signing of a letter of intent or other commitment to attend the institution shall be prohibited. (Revised: 1/10/95 effective 8/1/95)
Next is probably the one folks are most aware of.
13.2.1 General Regulation. An institution’s staff member or any representative of its athletics interests shall not be involved, directly or indirectly, in making arrangements for or giving or offering to give any financial aid or other benefits to a prospective student-athlete or his or her relatives or friends, other than expressly permitted by NCAA regulations. Receipt of a benefit by a prospective student-athlete or his or her relatives or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is determined that the same benefit is generally available to the institution’s prospective students or their relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability. [R] (Revised: 10/28/97, 11/1/00, 3/24/05)
184.108.40.206 Specific Prohibitions. Specifically prohibited financial aid, benefits and arrangements include, but are not limited to, the following: (Adopted: 4/23/08)
(a) An employment arrangement for a prospective student-athlete’s relatives;
(b) Gift of clothing or equipment;
(c) Co-signing of loans;
(d) Providing loans to a prospective student-athlete’s relatives or friends;
(e) Cash or like items;
(f ) Any tangible items, including merchandise;
(g) Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type;
(h) Free or reduced-cost housing;
(i) Use of an institution’s athletics equipment (e.g., for a high school all-star game);
(j) Sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high school, preparatory school or two-year college athletes by an institution, representatives of its athletics interests or its alumni groups or booster clubs; and
(k) Expenses for academic services (e.g., tutoring, test preparation) to assist in the completion of initial-eligibility or transfer-eligibility requirements or improvement of the prospective student-athlete’s academic profile in conjunction with a waiver request.
Sorry for what seems to be an editorial that reads similar to stereo instructions, but it is becoming increasingly important to avoid interfering with the recruiting process. People get excited, people get angry. People want to try to help the recruiting process. I get it. Communicating those sentiments directly to a recruit can cause major issues. We haven’t seen it much to date, but don’t be naïve. The NCAA will make an example out of someone before long relating to electronic communication. It would be an awful situation to get wrapped up in and it could hurt the program that an individual was trying so desperately to support. Depending on severity, it could also negatively affect the career of the recruit.
I do not claim to be an expert on compliance issues, and the rules change periodically. The aforementioned NCAA regulations can be found in their entirety at: https://web1.ncaa.org/LSDBi/exec/links