Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post If you’re reading this, you’re probably a booster

Tuesday April 14, 2009

Last week the N.C. State compliance office warned a student over a Facebook group made as part of an effort to recruit a top basketball prospect to the school. It seems like a pretty far-reaching restriction on speech, but the University and the NCAA hold that the action amounted to someone acting as a booster who attempted to influence the recruiting process.

Even as the NCAA and its members struggle with how to handle emerging technology, you can see where they’re coming from if you understand the accepted broad definition of a “booster.” For example, here are the guidelines used by the UGA compliance office to determine who is a booster. If you…

  • Participated in or been a member of an organization promoting Georgia Athletics
  • Contributed financially to the UGA Athletic Association, the Bulldog Club, individual athletic programs or any other Georgia Athletics or sport-specific booster organization
  • Assisted in the recruitment of prospects
  • Provided NCAA permissible benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families
  • Are a former UGA student
  • Promoted the UGA Athletic Association in other ways

…then you are a booster according to UGA, and your interactions with student-athletes and prospects are covered by NCAA rules. Until the NCAA catches up to current technology (and what bureaucratic organization ever does?), members like N.C. State have to apply the existing rules to seemingly-harmless situations with sometimes absurd results. A Facebook group urging a prospect to go to N.C. State seems fine, but does a full-page newspaper ad? What’s the difference?

But that doesn’t mean that NCAA members and even the NCAA itself aren’t using the same technology. Coaches and even entire conferences have joined up with Twitter and Facebook, and the NCAA’s official blog has its own Twitter account.

One Response to 'If you’re reading this, you’re probably a booster'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  • This is absurd. Using that standard, why haven’t schools stopped kids from bringing signs to basketball games wooing prospective recruits? Isn’t every post on the AJC recruiting blog, with their “arguments” for why a particular high schooler should/shouldn’t attend a school, an NCAA violation? If a top recruit’s father went to UGA, is he putting his alma mater in jeopardy if he tells his son how much he enjoyed playing in Athens? Everyone knows a Facebook page isn’t among the intended targets of NCAA regulation, and schools shouldn’t sanction students for being enthusiastic fans of their sports teams.