The NCAA is an easy organization to criticize; they make billions off the back of ‘student-athletes’ while denying them any piece of the pie under the (false) pretense of ‘amateurism,’ their rules are often convoluted and archaic, and their enforcement is laughable.
Even when the NCAA tries to enter the current decade — like they do starting today by acknowledging social media is a thing that exists — they just can’t get it right.
The new rules for coaches when it comes to recruit has been boiled down into a catchy saying:
Click, don’t type
Of course, being the NCAA, it’s not that easy. As a basic rule, anything that’s considered a ‘click’ — like a retweet or like on twitter, or a share on facebook, is okay. So far so good. Any response to a tweet or facebook status isn’t. If the rule stopped right here, it would be beautiful in it’s simplicity.
Only it doesn’t…
In 1 hour coaches can retweet and subtweet recruits. That first bullet point is lol worthy "one minute later" pic.twitter.com/vtHyhEn8IS
— Anna Hickey (@AnnaH247) August 1, 2016
So, to recap: If a coach retweets a recruit with a comment about his skill, that’s a violation. If the coach waits a whole minute and ‘subtweets’ that same message about that same recruit, that’s perfectly okay.
Also — that retweet can’t happen while someone is on campus, but as soon as he’s off campus, retweet those same tweets anyway.
If the coach waits a whole minute and ‘subtweets’ that same message…that’s perfectly okay.
We’re just so…SO close to an actually good rule here.
Recruiting enters the social media age
The impact of the rule, despite the rule itself somewhat missing the mark, is pretty interesting — coaches are about to be a lot more open about who they’re targeting. They really have no choice. I can’t image many, if any coaches, staying off social media entirely anymore, even if it’s just an intern or assistant coach running their account for them. We’re talking about teens here — many of who do fit that stereotypical mold of constantly checking their social media accounts to see how many mentions that have. SB Nation recently asked recruits about the rule. The result? “The overwhelming response was that they will be able to see how much a coach really likes them. ”
That being said, one Auburn coach hasn’t exactly gotten the message yet…
ATTN: All current and future prospects
New NCAA rules and my
🔥🔥Hot Take🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/eDfPCUDIyA
— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) August 1, 2016
As much as I want to say ‘good for you,’ the fact is — that’s probably not going to work well. Coaches started retweeting recruits at 12:01 a.m. this morning, and I hate to break it to Coach Hand, but no one is going to go back and read this three months from now. If other coaches are retweeting them, and you’re not — they’re just going to think you don’t really like them as much.
“The overwhelming response was that they will be able to see how much a coach really likes them. “
It’s also going to be a lot harder for coaches to dodge questions about who they’re targeting, when they’re publicly retweeting and sharing articles about the guys — which will only exacerbate fans reaching out and ‘recruiting’ the players themselves on social media. (It’s not like fans followed the rules before…)
On the positive side, it’s nice to see the NCAA getting with the times. Social media sure isn’t going anywhere.