Sports Fans On Facebook May Violate NCAA Recruiting Rules?

from the oh-come-on dept

We’ve seen way too many situations where modern technology has shown how ridiculous certain rules and regulations are. The latest involves the NCAA apparently freaking out about students at certain colleges setting up Facebook groups pleading with high-profile high school sports students to attend their universities. According to the NCAA such “recruiting” violates its rules that forbid trying to influence student athletes over which college to attend. Because of this, the NCAA has pushed the universities to reign in students, to the point that NC State sent one of its students a cease-and-desist, threatening “further action” if he didn’t take down a Facebook group trying to attract a student athlete. The folks who sent the cease-and-desist admit that it’s ridiculous, but they had to do so due to the NCAA pressure. They’re hoping that the NCAA will back down on this:

“I think nationally the NCAA needs to address further Facebook and how these groups play a part in recruiting. Is it realistic for us to be able to monitor them? What harm is a group like this causing? But as the legislation stands right now, this is the position we have to take.”

Of course, this is the same NCAA that has tried to limit reporters from live-blogging sporting events (though, it’s done little to enforce those rules), so it would come as no surprise if it chose to continue down this path.

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Comments on “Sports Fans On Facebook May Violate NCAA Recruiting Rules?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Colleges have faced bans because its Alums have violated recruiting rules before. They were not university officials but the University ended up getting banned.

I think what you forget is that the Internet is just another way of doing things, it isn’t special or unique, the rules are the rules, they have to be followed no matter where they take place.

dave says:

Re: Re:

“the rules are the rules, they have to be followed no matter where they take place.”

Or, the rules have to be changed. This isn’t North Korea, if we don’t like the rules, we can lobby to have them changed.

When the rules were originally written, it wasn’t feasible for the average joe to gain national attention without the help of professional media outlets. That is no longer true.

What is to stop a group of alleged Alums to violate recruiting rules for a competing school, for the express purpose of getting that college banned?

BTR1701 says:

Re: Rules

> the rules are the rules, they have to be
> followed no matter where they take place.

The difference is that these aren’t laws. They’re just rules put in place between two parties (the university and the NCAA) who entered into a contract and agreed to them. I as a private citizen am under no legal obligation to follow the rules of some contract to which I was not a party and had nothing to do with.

Basically, the NCAA now thinks it can tell private citizens what they can and can’t say on the internet. They say this activity violates their rules against influencing student athletes. Well, my response would be “So what? Your rules only apply to the universities and their employees with whom you are in privity of contract. I’m not a member of the NCAA and I neither agreed to be nor am I legally bound by your rules.”

And the universities that are bowing to NCAA pressure and trying to squelch their students’ speech are opening themselves up to a significant 1st Amendment challenge.

As for alumni, once these people have graduated and are not even students any more, there’s absolutely nothing either the university or the NCAA can do to stop them.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

I just don't see how verbal or written pleas from non-officals...

could be construed as violating recruiting rules.

So if I send an email to friend that happens to be a great athlete to come to my college then I am in violation of recruiting rules? The above scenario is not much different.

I could understand if the prospects were being offered something to come that had monetary value.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I just don't see how verbal or written pleas from non-officals...

You are are mistaken. The scenario is entirely different. You asking a friend isn’t the same thing as a University asking a student. Totally different. In one you are equal in power, in the other you have power over the recruit.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: I just don't see how verbal or written pleas from non-officals...

But that is what I said “non-officials”. I never said university employees and neither does the article.

“The latest involves the NCAA apparently freaking out about students at certain colleges setting up Facebook groups pleading with high-profile high school sports students to attend their universities.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Move it to a Fan

So, the obvious answer is to clone the group and make the admin/owner of the group a FAN, not a STUDENT, or ALUM. Then let the NCAA penalize the school for something the school has absolutely no control over – and let the NCAA come after a person for executing their 1st Amendment Rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Above or below the table

NCAA rules have two purposes: 1) Keep up the appearance of purity in college sports and 2) Protecting member schools from having to put too many resources into recruiting activities. Granted, they currently put a lot into recruiting, but the rules impose some sanity checks on how much schools can do.

I know how recruiting works on our campus, and I suspect a lot of others. If someone starts setting up facebook pages to do recruiting0, then our Sports Information Director is going to think that we need to do that, too. Before you know it, every school is going to be setting up a group for every athlete that they are recruiting. Everyone associated with the athletic department will be expected to subscribe to these groups. What started as a fun impromptu activity will get turned into an institutionalized bureaucratic system.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Above or below the table

I can agree with you to a point. The one issue I have is how and by what authority the NCAA thinks that it has right to stop someone of their own free will asking a player to come play at their college?

I am not saying that you are wrong about what would happen. I am just asking how they have the right to stop it?

CmdrOberon says:

Sports University or Learning University?

All universities should tell the NCAA to go take
a flying leap. Universities are places of LEARNING,
not places for sports.

If you want to have a for-profit sports university,
go right ahead. Just let’s give the money back to
the students who are there to get a degree in something
that’s actually productive in life.

At my school, 50% of the general fee
went directly to sports. That’s entirely disproportionate
to what the school is supposed to be doing, and causes
the situation where professors have to go beg for grants
because there is no money to do research.

Kick the sports out and get back to studying.

Shawn says:

Re: Sports University or Learning University?

Reminds me of the Simpsons (where all wisdoms originates) where Bart is placing handouts for a chinease restuarant and the owner is trying to explain how important this job actually is. The more flyers get handed out the more business he gets;

“if business good, send daughters to small notheastern libral arts college, call professors by first name, get top education. If business is bad, forced to send daughters to state school, serious student no match for drunken jock-acracy . . . baseball caps everywhere . . “

LOL I always loved that . . .

Shawn says:


” According to the NCAA such “recruiting” violates its rules that forbid trying to influence student athletes over which college to attend.”

There not suppose to do this? This has been going on openly for decades now, college athlete recruiting is almost its own industry and its not hidden or secret? The NCAA is so corrupted at this point, do they really have any credibility anymore . . . not in my eyes (its just an professional sports organization that viciously exploits its athletes, nothing more).

Anonymous Coward says:

The university can ignore the NCAA if it wants but it won’t get invited to its party anymore.

Its not that the school officials can’t contact a high school kid at all, its just that their contact is regulated and limited.

Are there rules that don’t really make sense? Of course, and some schools have absolutely no problems following the spirit of the law. Unfortunately, we all know that you can do things that are not technically against the rules but totally against the spirit of the rules. That is why you end up with stupid rules (or laws) that target specific technical issues.

snowburn14 says:

I love the smell of hypocricy in the...erm, afternoon

So, you can offer them a full athletic “scholarship” at the university, but you can’t have students say they want them to come? How on earth does that make any sense whatsoever?

I’m with CmdrOberon on this one, at least in principle. Disassociate the teams from (what should be) places of learning. But I say let these kids join the minors at age 18, and if the minor league teams want to pay for them to go to school, like many businesses will do, let them. There’s no need to get the colleges/universities involved in paying for their so-called education.

kirillian (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, from what I read, the exact opposite is true…only a select few universities actually profit from their Athletic Department. The rest sink millions into the department just to be competitive.

Here are the first two links I found on Google:



Sorry Techdirt…I’m probably subjecting yall to some sort of DMCA Take-Down notice here soon, aren’t I (along with a subsequent lawsuit)?

Anonymous Coward says:

Here is an easy way to avoid dealing with the NCAA, shut down all sports programs and take all that money and pour it into research and education. That is what College is all about, is it not?

Athletics can be paid for by the students that play them, not our tuition and alum boosters. Sports is not going to put food on the table when you get sidelined, or end up in jail because you are a piece of shit-po ghetto trash that cannot act like a human being.

Anonymous Coward says:

College is about growing into an adult. Should they stop offering music there also?

Quite a few students choose a university in part because of its athletic department. Donors give money to universities in part because of its athletic department. Athletics is a major way people stay connected to their alma matter. When is the last time you heard anyone arguing about the latest debate team meet?

Another issue for funding is Title 9. Most universities have to offer women sports parity in terms of sports. Sure, Ohio State might not make money off athletics, but it sure isn’t because of their football or basketball teams (men or women). Its because they field 86 athletic teams.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sorry, I selected the universities that had the best programs so I could educate myself and be the best in my field. Part of my decision did reflect on athletics…

“how can I avoid a bunch of jar-head jocks, what universities are not going to offer sports programs that drain the college coffers?”

My conclusions: MIT, RIT, RPI

And since I received my PHD at 24, I think I did well without having retarded sports programs.

kirillian (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m not saying that we should drop sports just because it doesn’t bring money in. But I do agree with snowburn inasmuch as I feel that colleges need to do some serious reevaluation of their priorities. Personally, a college that I just graduated from has a horrible athletic department. Only one sport, basketball, is even competitive (though I think the women’s soccer team was somewhat competitive 5 years ago). Does this mean the sports department should be disbanded? Heck no. But the school is building an entirely new sports facility to replace the old one. The building is expected to cost roughly $10million. The Music Department had $1million in funds SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED toward refurbishing the recital hall (they needed it…the recital hall was a piece of crap that was built in the 60s…and it was falling apart).

The music department is actually one of the biggest magnets of the school, especially the choirs. Yet, someone in administration appropriated the funds from the music departments account, stating that “they were needed for more important things”. This was the final amount needed to start construction on the new sports complex. Needless to say, the construction on the recital hall that was ALREADY in progress and almost done had to be immediately halted.

Good thinking there…

There was quite a bit of a debate that occurred around the campus and the only reason that the music department got the funds back was because someone on the School’s Board got wind of the matter and fired the administrator for fraud.

Point is, that for a school where the athletic department gets about 40% of the school’s budget but can’t bring in that much (basically…a sinkhole), it’s rather ironic that the rest of the school would be funding this department from their own budgets (I was in the small chamber choir…we pretty much made the entire music department’s budget for the year (scholarships and all) in the 5-day tours that we took…Alumni liked us…and they were rather well off)

CmdrOberon says:

Re: Re:

As soon as I see 50% of the general fee going to the music department,
I’ll start complaining. 🙂

As it is, music is probably just after the math & physic departments on
the priority list for cash. So, your comparison is rather weak.

As for title 9, you are wrong. Title 9 only requires equivalence. If there
are no men’s sports, there need not be women’s sports. $9 million on men’s, means $9 million on women’s.

Let me ask you this: How many football teams are fully funded? How many
physics research labs are fully funded?

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