Tim McGinnis, a self-described Oklahoma football “fanatic,” jumped on board the Twitter recruiting train about six months ago.
“I just dove right into it,” McGinnis said. “I didn't think twice about it. The other teams are doing it. … You have some sense that you can kinda sway them.”
The 39-year-old Ada resident said he wasn't aware until recently that contacting recruits is an NCAA violation, but also that he doesn't see how those rules are enforceable.
“That would be tough to say, ‘Hey, I can't be friends with Joe Mixon,' you know?” McGinnis said.
Although McGinnis acknowledges he's “probably a little more over-the-top” than most fans, he's hardly alone when it comes to tweeting at recruits.
For example, a few days after the Sooners' Sugar Bowl victory, an @ComeToNorman Twitter account was started, with its stated purpose being to persuade recruits to sign with Oklahoma.
Blake Reichert is an 18-year-old OSU fan from Edmond, and said he doesn't regularly tweet at recruits, but will on occasion if the thought crosses his mind.
“I feel like it usually doesn't influence them or amuse them, but as a fan you like to be involved as much as possible,” Reichert said.
Former players and boosters also have publicly lobbied recruits via social media. Last year, former Oklahoma State great Thurman Thomas tweeted at five-star receiver Laquon Treadwell, who ended up signing with Ole Miss.
In July, OU coach Bob Stoops admitted that Twitter recruiting is part of the game in today's world, and added: “You hear that OU fans? We have to get on board.”
A tweet from the official OU football Twitter account a few days later said Stoops' comment “wasn't meant literally,” but that did little to curb fan-prospect interaction.
Reichert said his early reservations about tweeting at recruits weren't NCAA-related.
“I don't want him to think I'm stalking him or going to freak him out and discourage him to come,” Reichert said. “You also don't ever want to be ‘that guy' who tweets famous people or recruits non-stop because there is no fun in that for anyone.
“It doesn't worry me hardly at all. One of those things where speeding two over is technically speeding, but are you ever going to get pulled over? Probably not because police officers and the NCAA have bigger and better things to handle and take care of than a lousy fan tweeting. You can't hardly control the recruit themselves, how do you expect to control hundreds of thousands of fans of a university?”