Why is social media a new disaster for the NCAA? Because the NCAA and Universities around the country are dealing with a growing “problem” where fans are attempting to persuade high school athletes on social media sites to come play for their university. “On many occasions, these instances can constitute NCAA secondary violations,” says Joey Kaufman, a Collegiate Correspondent at USA Today. Fans are classified as boosters because they promote the institutions athletic programs, and as a “booster” you are unable to contact high school players during the recruiting process.
Since fans are considered boosters, I imagine it would be almost impossible for athletic departments at each university to stop fans from communicating with recruits on social media platforms. There are millions of ecstatic fans, and only a handful of athletic department officials who can try and enforce the rules. Fans are always excited about highly recruited athletes and want them to play for the university they support. Therefore stopping fan communication would be an almost impossible mission.
Does communication between fans and players even have an impact on which school the athlete chooses to play for? I highly doubt it! A lot more goes into the decision process than some messages from excited fans.
Just because Jon Doe tweets at Shaq Thompson, “you should come to Oregon because our uniforms are super fly” doesn’t mean he’s going to commit to Oregon. When deciding on a school to play for, players take into consideration university location, coaching staff, family and friends opinions, and much more.
One way to solve the problem of “booster” and athlete communication would be to completely cut players off from all social media during the recruiting process. This may not bode well with the recruits, but it would solve the problem. One issue with this solution would be monitoring the recruits. Who would monitor them, and what would be the punishment if they violated the rules?
If the NCAA and universities hope to curb the problem, they better act fast, because social media isn’t disappearing and fans aren’t going to stop “recruiting” high school athletes.