You're a season ticket holder, and you want to offer your tickets to a recruit.
You're a donor, and you want to buy lunch for an athlete.
Not so fast, my friend.
Our old friend, the NCAA (isn't it everyone's friend?), has rules about that. Lots of rules. And Rutgers Athletics has a unit responsible for making sure violations don't occur. It's the Office of Compliance. And they're watching. And reading....our Tweets.
The basics are spelled out on the RU website. And they're pretty straight forward.
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.
But sometimes, we make a mistake. Sometimes we're just goofing around, being cute or trying to be funny. Again....not so fast my friend. Start with a humorous Tweet from reporter Ryan Dunleavy:
LSU transfer QB Hayden Rettig, a CA native, says he is liking NJ so far but he isn't so sure about having to pay to get on the beach— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) August 10, 2014
And follow that with a seemingly innocent and likely joking response from a fan:
@rydunleavy I will give him my Debit Card— RUMan79 (@RUMAN79) August 10, 2014
And then a Tweet from me, a little bit goofing and a bit serious, about giving a player your debit card:
And yes, I poked Rutgers' Compliance people in the Tweet. And they noticed and gently said, no, no, no!
The response from our fan? As expected, it wasn't meant to be serious.
That being said, you don't want to create issues (I know, I did) from innocent comments. Or worse from evil intent. When the NCAA and the Power 5 figure out player stipends, maybe none of this matters. Until then, though, be aware.