June 01, 2012
Apparently, there are still people out there that just DO. NOT. GET. IT. One of the absolutely worst things that you, as a fan, can do is to contact recruits through social media. It's only slightly above giving them mountains of cash to secure their commitment. One, it's an NCAA violation. Two, it's just creepy. Three, if you send death threats to a 17-18 year old kid because he decided to visualize his commitment to another school, you need serious psychiatric help.
There is nothing good about sending a high school death threats. You are not as anonymous as you might think. All 7 of your proxies won't hide you. All it will take for you to end up as Eric Waugh's cellmate is for a recruit to take these threats seriously and contact the authorities. Then you're in a whole world of hurt. Is a jail sentence for harassment, intimidation, and quite possibly hate crimes worth it to vent your frustration that Player X didn't choose to attend your school of choice?
Are we, as a species, so devoid of rationality that something like these comments that I've seen make sense? You don't HAVE to give in to John Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory. You are better than that. You have more willpower. Let the men on the field take care of their differences. We, as fans, have one job. To cheer for our team and revel in the losses of That Team Up North. GAME LOSSES. This is not license to say "Well, Chris said I should revel in their losses, so I can go harass recruit Y for not coming to Ohio State."
The same goes for guys that choose to attend The Greatest University in the Land. When they commit, a short "Welcome to the Buckeyes!" is in order. NOTHING MORE. These guys are not going to be your best buds. They are not going to visit you at home in the offseason and gossip about The Vampire Diaries while you share a box of wine. The athletic staff can't monitor all of us fans, so it is our responsibility to police ourselves.
This is not to say that some of these kids don't invite these sorts of comments when they act like, well…kids, on social media. A few years ago, a prospect would have quietly burned his Ohio State envelope in the privacy of his own home and no one would have been the wiser. Or perhaps the pervasiveness of social media has created a situation in which this now becomes acceptable behavior. Either way, the prospects themselves are not blameless in these situations. However, that does NOT excuse ANY individual to make threats of harm or injury to these kids.
They are expressing their commitment to their school in the greatest rivalry in sport. Perhaps the methods that they employ are less than tactful, but to respond in kind with what we have been hearing is downright malicious. Responses like death threats and hopes of ACL tears have no place in sports, ESPECIALLY in college sports. These are, sometimes literally, kids. Ask yourself if you would want a hundred rabid fans wishing that your kid's ACL would tear, perhaps destroying their dreams, all because some absolute moron from a rival school offered up a bounty on your kid and a hard hitting linebacker took them up on it.
So let me make this as plan as possible. Unless you are a family member, coach, or journalist, there is NO REASON for you to contact recruits. Not on the phone, not by mail, not by email. Not through Twitter, nor Facebook. Not through Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, AIM, MySpace, or Yahoo Messenger. Not even via carrier pigeon. The only reasons you have to contact them are bad ones.
When you contact recruits, you commit a secondary violation. When you commit a secondary violation, the good people at the compliance office have to report it. When they have to report it, outlets like the Dispatch or Plain Dealer send in an FOIA request. When they send in the request, it gets filled. When it gets filled, Doug Lesmerises writes an article about the hilarity of the secondary violations and you become a laughing stock throughout Buckeye Nation.
Don't become a laughing stock. Stop contacting recruits.