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Football coach’s impermissible use of Twitter

February 29, 2012

An assistant football coach at a BCS institution may have committed numerous recruiting violations via Twitter. He mistakenly made public tweets to numerous prospects that including his phone number while also offering some of the prospects scholarships.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches/staff members from communicating with prospects via the @Mention or Reply functions on Twitter. Only Direct Message to prospects who are of contactable age is permitted. Bylaw

According to NCAA rules, prior to the signing of an NLI or an institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid an institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming recruitment of the prospect. Bylaw 13.10.2 As such, social media messages that are public (such as public Tweets or Facebook wall posts) violate the rules of publicity.

Finally, Prior to August 1 of a prospect’s senior year in high school, an institution may not directly or indirectly provide a written offer of athletically related financial aid or indicate in writing to the prospect that an athletically related grant-in-aid will be offered by the institution. Bylaw

Coaches and staff members should be educated and aware of the applicable rules prior to engaging in such recruiting activities via social media. Social media can be a wonderful and powerful recruiting tool. So remember, with great power comes great responsiblity.

Of course…all of these rules could be changing in the coming months…so please contact your compliance staff to make certain you are aware of the most recent rule for your specific sport.


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