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NCAA can't stop overzealous fans from tweeting to recruits

Some recruits crave the attention and some loathe it, but the fact remains: As long as Twitter exists and college football fans believe their public lobbying might help snag commitments, nothing — not even NCAA bylaws and athletic department pleas — can possibly contain it.
by Jason Kersey Published: January 12, 2014
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photo - TULSA UNION / HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Broken Arrow's Devon Thomas (center) runs downfield under pressure from Union's Blace Walser (left) and Chase Dahlquists (right) during the high school Class 6A state championship football game in Stillwater, Okla. on Thursday, December 1, 2011. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
TULSA UNION / HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Broken Arrow's Devon Thomas (center) runs downfield under pressure from Union's Blace Walser (left) and Chase Dahlquists (right) during the high school Class 6A state championship football game in Stillwater, Okla. on Thursday, December 1, 2011. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Midwest City safety Will Sunderland recorded 98 tackles and five interceptions and was an Oklahoman first-team All-State selection as a junior. The four-star prospect is ranked as the 11th-best safety in the 2015 recruiting class, according to Rivals, and already has scholarship offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

“It doesn't really bother me,” said Sunderland, who is very active on Twitter. “Every time I put up something, they comment or retweet it. Fans that will do that for you will make you famous one day. … But it doesn't have any impact at all.”

The rule

The NCAA prohibits contact between prospective student-athletes and any “Representative of Athletics Interest,” which is broadly defined in bylaw 13.02.14.

The very next bylaw states that once an individual or entity becomes identified as such a representative, that identity is retained indefinitely.

NCAA bylaw 13.02.14:

A “representative of the institution's athletics interests” is an individual, independent

agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization

who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution's

executive or athletics administration to:

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the

institution's intercollegiate athletics program;

(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics

booster organization of that institution;

(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in

the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;

(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or

their families; or

(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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