A Georgia fan called a recruit to make sure the player was still committed to the Bulldogs, and, in doing so, set off a firestorm that has blown up on Twitter and threatened to put the school in trouble with the NCAA.
Not only is it an invasion of privacy that the Georgia fan called the recruit, but it is also a NCAA violation, SB Nation points out. The incident took place last week when defensive back Steven Nelson took a call from an overzealous fan worried that Nelson was going back on his commitment to Georgia and instead choose Texas Tech.
The Georgia fan told Nelson that he was a great player and wished him well, then hopped onto Twitter and recruiting site Rivals.com to brag about what he’d done.
The incident, which was initially reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has brought forth outrage from the internet as well. SB Nation says that, while it is one thing to encourage a high school player to check out a certain college after a sporting event ends, when a Georgia fan calls a recruit instead, it is crossing a line.
SB Nation editor Bud Elliot wrote:
“Your love for your school won’t make the recruit choose it. In fact, it might creep the kid out so much that he doesn’t choose your school. Remember, the coaches are already selling everything possible about the school to the kid. They’re doing it in a polished, professional way. Your help is not needed. It can also cause quite the headache for a school’s compliance staff.”
The incident forced the Georgia compliance office to speak out, reminding fans through Twitter that boosters aren’t permitted to contact recruits in any way.
“I get phone calls almost every day from college recruiters and reporters,” Nelson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He called me up, and I forgot what his name was. The way he was talking, I thought he was a reporter, so I stayed on the phone. He was just trying to convince me to stay with Georgia, told me how good of a player I was, and wished me a good year.”
“I didn’t think nothing of it until somebody called me, an ESPN guy [DawgNation’s Radi Nabulsi], who told me the guy put it on Twitter that he talked to me on the phone.”
There is no word yet from the NCAA if the school will face discipline for the Georgia fan calling the recruit.