Florida Colleges Face NCAA Violations for Facebook Football Recruiting
Last month, the football program at the University of Florida was slapped with secondary NCAA violations, simply because one of the team's coaches posted messages on the Facebook Walls of potential recruits. As the Orlando Sentinel explains, the NCAA considers an athlete's Facebook wall to be a public forum, which means that coaches technically can't use them to communicate with targeted students. If a coach wanted to send an athlete a private Facebook message, on the other hand, that would be totally acceptable. Ole Miss' football program faced similar violations after an assistant posted a photograph of a recruiting letter sent to a cornerback who'd already committed to Mississippi State. The assistant insisted he didn't know that the photo was public, and that he only intended to send it as a direct message.
As social networking has become more pervasive among student athletes, many college coaches have felt a need to keep up with the times, and have begun using the medium to communicate with recruits. The problem, however, is that the NCAA's rules on electronic communication don't address protocol on sites like Facebook or Twitter, forcing many college coaches and athletic directors to tread carefully.
In theory, the NCAA's rules governing communication are aimed at protecting a student's privacy. As we all know, however, the very definition of privacy has taken on new connotations since the dawn of social networking. For example, is a Facebook Wall really a public forum if it's only visible to a recruit's selected group of "friends"? And what if coaches institute tighter privacy controls on their side of the coin, to limit the visibility of what they write or post? Recruiting in the age of Facebook, like the college game itself, has drastically changed. Let's hope the NCAA adjusts its rules to reflect moving forward. [From: Orlando Sentinel]