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Secondary violations and social media

The Rutgers athletic department uses the following official guidelines concerning booster contact with recruits.

Who is a "representative of athletic interests"?

A "representative of the institution’s athletic interest" (a.k.a. "booster") is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g. apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization that is known (or should have been known) by a member of Rutgers’ executive or athletics administration to:

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting Rutgers’ intercollegiate athletics program;

(b). Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of Rutgers;

(c. Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospects;

(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or

(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting Rutgers’ athletics program.

Note: Once an individual, agency, corporation or other organization is identified as a "representative of athletics interest", that person/entity retains that identity indefinitely.  

Unfortunately, many Rutgers boosters violated NCAA bylaws yesterday by congratulation football commit Leonte Carroo on Twitter. The NCAA is crystal clear on this matter - these sorts of secondary violations almost always result in a slap on the wrist, but create a lot of additional headaches and paperwork for athletic departments.

13.01.4 Recruiting by representatives of Athletics Interests.

Representatives of an institution’s athletics interests (as defined in Bylaw 13.02.13) are prohibited from making in-person, on- or off-campus recruiting contacts, or written or telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians. Specific examples of exceptions to the application of this regulation are set forth in Bylaw 13.1.2.2 (see Bylaw 13.1.3.5.1.1).

Every time you talk to recruits on Facebook and Twitter, that's a secondary violation, no matter how innocent or inadvertent. Here's what Rutgers athletics says on the matter.

Q.  Is it permissible for a booster to telephone a prospective student-athlete or send a letter of congratulations to a prospective student-athlete AFTER the student-athlete signed a National Letter of Intent?

 A. No.  A prospect remains a prospect until he/she enrolls in school, therefore telephoning or writing a prospect is not permissible.  The only permissible contact with a prospect is for employment purposes but only after speaking with a member of the Office of Compliance. 

Specifically, here's what's required by NCAA bylaw 13.02.11.

A prospective student-athlete is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally. An individual remains a prospective student-athlete until one of the following occurs (whichever is earlier): 

(a) The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution's regular academic year (excluding summer); or 

(b) The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term; or (Revised: 1/11/89, 1/10/90) 

(c) The individual officially registers and enrolls and attends classes during the summer prior to initial enrollment.  (Adopted: 4/28/05, Revised:  1/17/09)

In conclusion, Leonte Carroo is great, and everyone's really happy for him, but please hold off on the tweets for a while.