Sunday, June 7, 2009

NCAA rules place limits on fan enthusiasm

Messages on social networking sites may violate recruiting rules


Interested in starting an online group dedicated to, say, showing Wichita Heights High School sophomore and Kansas University basketball recruit Perry Ellis how awesome KU is?

Better think twice.

What may seem like an innocuous post on a social media forum may be an NCAA recruiting violation, according to what Kansas Athletics is telling fans.

Even though average KU fans may not think of themselves as boosters in the traditional sense, Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director at KU, said they become boosters when they do things that could be considered an effort to attract high school athletes to KU.

So Kansas Athletics put together a document that it disseminated on its own Facebook page, detailing some rules and regulations on the process.

Marchiony said he isn’t aware of any violations at KU to date, but said the department wanted to be proactive after seeing violations elsewhere.

“We just felt like we needed to educate our fans about the rules that we are obligated to follow as a member of the NCAA,” Marchiony said.

One violation elsewhere, according to the Associated Press, occurred when Taylor Moseley, a student at North Carolina State, started a group called “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!!” That attracted more than 700 members.

The student later got a cease and desist letter from the school’s athletic department, and renamed the group “Bring a National Title back to NC STATE!” and featured a photo of Wall.

Some of the rules regarding prospects — students who are at least in the ninth grade, and including those enrolled at junior colleges — according to KU include:

• No fan may e-mail a prospect or post messages on a prospect’s MySpace, Facebook or similar Web site.

• No fan may create an online group dedicated to convincing or encouraging a prospect to attend KU, even without directly contacting the prospect.

• Fans may not contact prospects to tell them about “the great things KU has to offer,” even if they do not encourage them to come to KU.

Matt Rada, a senior at KU from Lake Quivira, follows the men’s basketball team on Facebook, but said he hadn’t noticed any recruiting issues of the type banned by the school.

However, if they were to go on, Rada said he anticipated the school would have a difficult time enforcing those rules.

“The fans really aren’t going to have that big of an impact” on a potential recruit, Rada said, saying he thought campus visits and other official recruiting activities would have more influence.

Marchiony said that if a fan were to participate in a banned activity, the athletic department would ask the person to stop. If the activity continued, then KU would seek the advice of the NCAA, he said.

“As long as a school takes the steps it needs to take, I don’t think you’d be talking about that school having NCAA penalties,” he said.


Rick Arnoldy 11 years ago

If there was ever an example of the NCAA not keeping up with technology, this is it. What? I can't exercise my freedom of expression? I'm not allowed to follow someone I'm interested in on facebook? I'm not allowed to say in a post on "hey, wouldn't it be great if Xavier Henry played at KU? If KU needs to take steps to ensure they comply with NCAA rules, I understand. It's the anal-retentive NCAA that needs to change it's ways.

jayhawker4real 11 years ago

This settles it in my mind. It is time to dissolve the NCAA for a governing organization that lives in the real world.

It is also time for alums to take back their university athletic programs from the greedy athletic corporations and athletic directors, perhaps by encouraging legitimate professional minor leagues for very gifted young athletes, and encouraging a strict no athletic scholarship rule like the Ivy League. I would still show up, pay to attend, and proudly incant the Rock Chalk Jayhawk cheer at the games even if the very gifted youngsters opted to learn their craft where they would be remunerated for their labor, rather than play for the Jayhawks.

It's time to help actual scholar athletes rather than mercenaries masquerading as students for a few months.

palewhale 11 years ago

This is impossible to regulate. What stops a Kansas fan from starting a site for a rival school in order to get them in trouble with the NCAA. How can they prove what school I really support?

I think this is a CYA for KU and other schools. There's no way the NCAA can hold a school responsible if they are trying to prevent this type of activity.

Doug Merrill 10 years, 12 months ago

There is a difference between posting a comment on a public site like this one, vs starting a private site or posting on the recruit's site. These are pretty easy rules to follow and are no different than the old ones: if you call a recruit and offer to come over or just to give a spiel about how great KU is, you are recruiting. There have always been those rules. This is just recognizing that you don't have to phone them to accomplish the same thing. Keeping up with technology is exactly why they did this. If someone posts from another school, that will get figured out. It is amazing how many people think that what they do on the internet is anonymous.

You may chalk this up to CYA, but in fact an idiot posting or calling can undo what HCBS or HCMM have accomplished, and I for one am glad KU is getting this out there.

KUGreenMachine 10 years, 12 months ago

...why are you posting the same story that you posted months ago?

Eric J. Baker 10 years, 12 months ago

I don't think KU is honestly going to try to enforce these rules beyond situations that gain a lot of attention. I think this is more of a way to cover their own ass, in case the NCAA DOES, for some reason, throw a hissy fit, the KU athletics department can point to this and say "Hey, we were proactive, we informed the students, we did the best we could, you can't hold us accountable."

Clydecito 10 years, 12 months ago

If a recruit is sold on an institution because of some fans posting on Facebook, I'm not sure we'd want one so naive.

KU2010CHAMPS 10 years, 12 months ago

mouseclicker, Amen! case closed. That is exactly what they are doing.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 12 months ago

It is a cya move. My beef is not with KU athletics. They do what they have to do. It is with the NCAA for being so nitpicky, unable to understand the social evolution of communication, and their archaic practices in general.

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