OU football: Yes, no, maybe — did Jay Norvell's tweets violate NCAA rules?

Granted, it's likely that the NCAA would see all of these as secondary violations, not major penalties for the Sooners. But in an athletic department that has had its share of problems with impermissible contact with recruits, this might signal a bigger issue.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 24, 2012

Just when you thought athletes were the only ones who got themselves into trouble on Twitter, Jay Norvell went and blew that myth to smithereens.

Or, at least, @CoachJayNorvell did.

First, a little background for those of you who might not be part of the Twittersphere.

Tuesday morning, a string of tweets appeared on the Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator's account. The posts went out to six recruits, all high school juniors who are wide receivers, and each of the six received at least one message that said:

“This is Coach Jay Norvell from Oklahoma. Cel (405) 431-XXXX. Would like to offer you a Full Scholarship to Oklahoma. Call me!”

One of three things happened here.

One, Norvell posted the tweets.

Two, someone involved in Sooner recruiting working on behalf of Norvell posted the tweets.

Three, someone hacked Norvell's account and posted the tweets.

If the answer is behind Door No. 1 or Door No. 2 — even if the tweets were meant to be direct messages, not posts that all the world could see — it isn’t good news for the Sooners. Coaches are prohibited from talking about recruits publicly. They aren’t allowed to put scholarship offers in writing until Aug. 1 of a prospects senior year.

Granted, it’s likely that the NCAA would see these as secondary violations, not major penalties for the Sooners. That’s probably why we haven’t seen OU offer any comment or statement on the issue; it tends to issue a statement once or twice a year announcing any secondary violations that have been reported to the NCAA.

But in an athletic department that has had its share of problems with impermissible contact with recruits, this might signal a bigger issue.

Might not.

Then again, it might.

Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that simply keeping up with all the recruiting rules and regulations is tough. In my reporting for this column, I searched high and low on the Internet for the answers to some fairly simple questions. Some searches resulted in conflicting answers. Others resulted in confusion.

Finally, I threw up my hands and called on a friend at NCAA Headquarters.

Here’s how the NCAA’s website explains the Twitter regulations:


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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