Fan passion is one of the main factors making college sports as great as they are. Sure, fans get crazily into pro teams, too, but the fact that in many cases college sports fans are rooting for schools they actually attended pushes the personal connection they feel to the teams – and therefore, the amount they care about said teams – to yet more intense levels.
And sometimes, with that intensity comes creepiness. Specifically, that creepiness tends to arise in recruiting matters, with adults on pins and needles awaiting kids’ decisions about where they’ll go to college. We’ve talked about the creepiness of it all before – on the part of coaches as well as fans – but there’s something else to keep in mind about fans urging on kids to attend their schools: if you actually contact the player with your wishes (pretty easy to do thanks to Twitter, Facebook and the like), it’s not just a little uncomfortable, it’s also against the rules:
“As soon as you contact a recruit and try to persuade them to come to your school, you automatically become a booster because you are helping a recruit come to a specific institution,” [Oklahoma State assistant athletic director of compliance Ben] Dyson said. “Boosters aren’t allowed to recruit prospective student-athletes.”
Impossible to truly enforce (fans do this all the time) and therefore kind of pointless overall? Perhaps, but it’s a rule nonetheless. And this rule at least seems to have its heart in the right place, since it pretty much boils down to: leave the kids alone and let them make the decision themselves.
Sure, the vast majority of fans sending recruits tweets are well-intentioned (if still creepy) and have no idea they’re committing any sort of violation, but some aren’t. The story from Oklahoma State’s Daily O’Collegian paper, for example, mentions one recruit, Keon Hatcher, who got obscene tweets from fans when he thought of switching his commitment, and you can bet he’s far, far from the only kid that’s ever happened to. In some cases, there’s good reason to try and cut off contact.
So before you send what you think is a harmless tweet urging a kid to recognize the benefits of the school you root for, know that: 1) it will have no effect on the player’s eventual decision (Hatcher said as much), and 2) the second you do it, you become a dirty, dirty cheater in the eyes of the NCAA. The odds of the NCAA actually doing anything about your specific tweet are infinitesimally small, but if you’re just going to look creepy, why bother? Oh, and this all especially goes for you, offered-to-let-Nerlens-Noel-bang-your-wife guy.
[h/t Mark Ennis]