Ah, some things never change, like the hyper-niche portion of the fan base who lives and dies on college football recruiting. There are some things fans just cannot do whenever they feel like it.
Perhaps one of the biggest no-nos is contacting a recruit regarding his status and persuading him to sign with your favorite team.
A UGA fan crossed that boundary and contacted a top recruit to clarify the status of his commitment to the Bulldogs. Now, there is speculation regarding whether UGA will have to report a NCAA secondary violation because of it.
And secondary violations happen all the time. That’s not the issue. The bigger issue is with the fan actually carrying out contacting the recruit. Take a deep breath and realize fans’ persuasions have no impact on recruits. Perhaps he thought he was the “Young Gun Insider” on the message boards.
Steven Nelson, a 3-star defensive back according to Rivals.com, was the recruit who received the call from the overzealous fan. Nelson had been committed to Georgia since last February, but in a recent article from a California newspaper, it said he wrongly committed to Texas Tech.
That spurned the UGA fan to contact Nelson to confirm his commitment, and they talked for about 5-10 minutes.
“I get phone calls almost every day from college recruiters and reporters,” Nelson said. “He called me up, and I forgot what his name was. The way he was talking, I thought he was a reporter, so I stayed on the phone. He was just trying to convince me to stay with Georgia, told me how good of a player I was, and wished me a good year.
“I didn’t think nothing of it until somebody called me, an ESPN guy who told me the guy put it on Twitter that he talked to me on the phone.”
Reportedly, UGA’s Rivals.com site, UGASports.com, had someone on their message boards saying he was contacting recruits. Steve Patterson, the publisher of the site immediately nipped the post and blacklisted the poster because he knows how big of a no-no that is.
However, at this time, it’s unclear if the Rivals.com poster is the same person who called Nelson on the phone.
The AJC contacted the NCAA, and they expressed they ‘did not have enough information to speculate on the situation’. They recommended contacting Jim Booz, a UGA compliance officer. Booz told the AJC that he was aware the situation had occurred, but he needs more information to confirm whether a secondary violation occurred.
“Based on the information at this time, there’s not enough information to conclude that there’s a rules violation.”
It’s clearly against NCAA rules for fans to persuade recruits in any way on social media – Facebook or Twitter. We all know this happens everyday, and that will likely never be enforced.
The issue here is not a secondary violation with Georgia. They happen every day. Just ask Lane Kiffin. The bigger story here is the hyper-fan’s audacity to contact the recruit, and the mindset of thinking he or she can actively participate in the college football recruiting game.
UGA compliance reminded fans about what boosters can and cannot do:
Boosters aren’t permitted to tweet, FB or contact recruits in any way. Let’s keep the recruiting to our coaches.
— UGA Compliance (@UGACompliance) August 21, 2012