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State Students Using Facebook To Woo John Wall; Death Penalty Forthcoming (P.S., John, Run With The Pack, Please!)

April 8, 2009
According to the story on, over 700 students have joined the Facebook group “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!”

Whoops. Doing so is technically a minor NCAA violation:

According to NCAA regulations created in 2006, “… communication via message boards, chat rooms, walls, comments, blogs, IM, etc. is not permissible.” And, as a student, the NCAA considers Groce a representative of the University.

“That’s kind of stupid and ridiculous,” [Tyler] Groce said. “Most students don’t even know about the regulation.”

In addition to Groce, the 703 other students who joined the group are also guilty of the violation due to the NCAA’s loose definition of representatives of the University, which can include coaches, Athletics staff, boosters, alumni, donors, ticketholders and current students.

School representatives can initiate contact with a recruit a limited number of times, and Facebook messages may undermine these opportunities. Such violations are rarely enforced by the NCAA, but are more often enforced by the host school.


Ah, the internet…the genie that can never be put back in its bottle. Regulating “groups” on Facebook as a potential recruiting tool is a fool’s errand. As we saw with Napster in the late 90s and the early part of this decade, trying to cut off the head of this Hydra by neutering it through Congressional hearings only spawned new, bigger and better file-sharing apps.

The same is true of Facebook and other social networking sites. Trying to shut down specific groups on Facebook would take a tremendous amount of effort and diligence on the part of NCAA compliance officers, and ultimately it won’t matter in a couple of years. By then, Facebook will have jumped the shark and there will be a new, shinier social networking site (SNS).

Remember MySpace? Exactly.

It won’t take long for students, alumni and boosters to create all sorts of new pages, groups or apps in the hopes to lure the next big thing in basketball/football/whatever to their school. If you squelch that one, the cycle just starts over again and the NCAA would have a new rabbit to chase. The NCAA would essentially be creating its own never-ending game of internet recruiting “Whack-A-Mole.” They’ll never know where the next SNS will pop up, and by the time they swing their unwieldy mallet, it’ll be gone and another will have popped up somewhere else.

As student Christopher Pope states in the story, it’s a good thing that the NCAA is trying to eliminate as many possible ways for coaches to work around the recruiting rules. The playing field needs to be as level as possible. But if it ever gets to the point where the NCAA is throwing hundreds of minor violations at a school because of a Facebook group, that’ll be going too far and ultimately be a tremendous waste of time, money and resources on the NCAA’s part.

They’re obviously spread incredibly thin as it is, given we haven’t heard anything from the NCAA about the Reggie Bush, OJ Mayo and Jim Calhoun major rules violations.

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