Football recruits in risky business on Twitter

Photo by KidsLoveAnimals via Flickr

Joey Kaufman recently addressed “recruiting” on social media. National Signing Day has become a holiday for football fans everywhere. ESPN covers the announcements of high school seniors in the same way they did for LeBron two years ago.

There are a million ways for teams to commit NCAA violations during the recruiting process, but this one is nearly out of their control. Any fan can go to a recruit’s Twitter or Facebook and post whatever they want to. Some people could argue for free speech, but the NCAA could bring the hammer down on any University proven to have a “booster” talking to recruits through social media.

It will be nearly impossible for the NCAA to regulate social media as a recruiting tool for boosters. Of course, everyone would notice if Phil Knight was tweeting recruits, but few boosters are on his level, outside of T. Boone Pickens. Most boosters are not well known except for within their own University community.

For anyone who has followed college football recruiting in the past 3 or 4 years, you have inevitably ended up on a recruits Facebook or Twitter page to read their posts. I was glued to Twitter my phone when Arik Armstead (@arikarmstead) announced he was going to be a Duck. Naturally, comments flowed in to congratulate him, or condemn him, on his decision. As a reader of these comments, I caught myself often asking myself, “Why do we care where a 17 year old kid goes to college?”

Social media has been great for college football fans, and it has been even better for recruits. These kids have become temporary celebrities and are allowed to interact with their new fans. The NCAA does need to monitor social media sites for possible infractions, but they will never catch the small fry. Let players connect and hear from the fans. Their decision will not be influenced from a tweet which simply says, “Come to Oregon”. But let’s leave the fan “recruiting” at that.

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