April 08, 2011
As you may have heard, the NCAA came out recently and said the following:
"All recruiting/scouting services are held to the same legislated standard and we consider Rivals.com to be a recruiting/scouting service."
This means college coaches would be forbidden from subscribing to Rivals.com sites.
On one hand I will give props to the NCAA for actually making something black and white by saying Rivals.com falls under this bylaw. Normally they leave it open to interpretation and every university needs to decide what a rule means on their own.
Of course by not including all of the TOS's (that is message board speak for 'the other site') I guess you could say they did leave something open to interpretation, but we assume this ruling means all other similar sites are included.
Either way you look at it, this is obviously a ridiculous ruling.
Rivals.com on its own is much more than a recruiting service. Most sites are credentialed members of the media and all sites spend a significant amount of their time covering the actual teams. We are at every practice, offseason workouts, press conferences, and home and away games. At all of those events, at least at USC, we are FORBIDDEN from contacting recruits. If all I do is recruiting then why I am spending all this money covering the team?
Of course Rivals.com is part of Yahoo! Sports which focuses their coverage on professional leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. The migration to Yahoo! isn't completed, but many of the Rivals.com pages you click on end up at a URL something along the lines of: "rivals.yahoo.com/usc". Does that mean Yahoo! Sports is a recruiting service as well?
There is also a question of enforcement. How can the NCAA police this? Does this extend to the student managers? The coaches' families? Is the NCAA saying that if Rivals.com does a interview with an assistant coach, his wife isn't allowed to read it if the article happens to be premium?
How many loopholes are there going to be for this one? Coaches are not permitted to attend the NIKE Camps, but UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel attended the camp in LA this past weekend because his son was participating. Pete Carroll did the same thing a few years back with his son.
So does that mean a coach's son can also have a Rivals.com subscription and print out articles for his dad or even let his dad use his account? He could be a fan of the school or even a recruit himself. Is he not allowed to read the articles Rivals.com writes about him?
I know Rivals/Yahoo! is in contact with the NCAA and strongly disagrees with this ruling. I would hope the NCAA would rethink this but my faith in that organization doing the right thing has worn very thin.