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.