Notre Dame encourages fans to stop online recruiting

Notre Dame releases a video telling fans to stop trying to recruit through social media.
Posted on July 26, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 26, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.

NOTRE DAME — Got a favorite Notre Dame recruit?

Maybe he’s a four-star receiver caught between the Irish and USC or maybe she’s the next Ruth Riley.

In an age in which nearly every high-profile recruit has Twitter or Facebook, it’s easy to shoot them a quick tweet or wall post encouraging them to join the ranks of Notre Dame Nation.

Notre Dame’s response to that form of micro-recruiting? “Thanks, but no thanks.”

The Notre Dame Department of Athletics posted a video discouraging fans from attempting to recruit athletes online.

It features two fictional vloggers (video bloggers) who boast about taking a five-star running back’s family out to dinner, while various Notre Dame coaches like Mike Brey and Muffet McGraw shake their heads disapprovingly.

The video is satirical and cheesy — though McGraw’s face-palm may be Oscar-worthy — but it gets the point across: Fan contact of that nature is illegal, and the university answers to the NCAA for it.

But before you think your “#GOIRISH” Tweet to Jaylon Smith will earn Notre Dame a four-year bowl ban, the NCAA knows that many fans commit recruiting violations without even knowing it.

According to the NCAA website, “most NCAA recruiting violations are inadvertent. Problems can range from occasional improper phone calls and text messages to the more serious matters such as the funneling of cash and other illegal benefits to prospective student-athletes and their families.”

Its definition of recruiting is a little less clear: “Any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program.”

“A representative of the institution’s athletics interests” could mean anything from a booster to a regular fan with regular access to social media.

So while fan-based recruitment violations are hard to enforce and even harder to track down, Notre Dame simply wants to tell its fans to reconsider any tweets, texts or Facebook wall posts that may encourage that recruit to come to the university.

“I didn’t come to Notre Dame because someone told me to,” linebacker Manti Te’o said toward the end of the video. “I came to Notre Dame because I wanted to.”

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