Friday, April 10, 2009

Bizarre Recruiting Story

Jon Wall (Raleigh , NC) is widely considered the #1 high school prospect in America for the 2009 class. Memphis, Kentucky, NC State, Baylor, Duke and UNC all have a shot at landing him. Earlier this season, the Raleigh News & Observer did a piece detailing his rise to basketball prominence and some of the things surrounding his recruitment.

Then today there's this story that NCSU has ordered the shut down of a Facebook group titled "Jon Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!". It was started by a NCSU student. Apparently, people in the Wolfpack athletics department thought that this might constitute a recruiting violation.

The NCAA made clear to N.C. State that it considers such sites a violation, Lee said. Making such a public appeal to Wall, in effect, turned Moseley into a representative of the university's athletic interests under NCAA Division I Bylaw 13.02.13.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said the bylaw applies to "individuals who would develop a social networking site or use an existing one to send recruiting messages to prospective student-athletes. Those communications are not allowed."
Even though NCSU shut down their Facebook group, the article points out that there are still similar groups for the other schools still recruiting Wall. I'm interested to see all plays out. Expecting schools to self police this is a very silly idea.

The next problem will be defining what is a violation and what is free speech. I've mentioned a recruit on this blog that hasn't signed a LOI. I'm not a student and (as of right now) not a member of the Spartan club. All I am is an alumni. So, does this make me a "booster" in the NCAA's eyes? Have I committed a violation? Does this stretch all the way to message boards? The issue gets even murkier if a UNC student starts a "Jon Wall, come to NC State" group on Facebook or Myspace. Does NC State have the right to sue to stop it?

I honestly believe this is the case of a school being a little too cautious. I think the NCAA will shy away from doing much about this because they're not going to like what they find. Every school is probably involved (at least at the elite level). So who will they want to punish? Just think back to the old Jerry Tarkanian quote that, "the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky that they are going to put Cleveland State on probation for another year".