If you are one of the many people who insist on contacting these high school players, all we ask is that you treat them like human beings. When you put some sort of Razorback, Hog, Arkansas, #WPS or something in that line on your Twitter account, you represent all of us. So please, don't do anything embarrassing.
This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Sporting Life Arkansas. You can read the column in its entirety here.
By now, there’s a pretty good chance that you, someone you know, or someone you’ve seen online has contacted a recruit or current player via social media.
As it has the last few years, this is becoming a popular topic as we close in on National Signing Day due to the fury among fanbases to bring in the best football players possible. It’s a passion nearly on par with actual games, which is understandable since there are fans who believe their social media interaction with recruits is as imperative for program success as creating an intimidating atmosphere at the stadium for actual games. That it’s a way to show young players becoming familiar with new programs that their school is as passionate and supportive as any other.
However, there are another group of fans, one that feels like a much larger group, that sees such interaction as falling on the creepy side of fandom. And, yes, it is weird for a bunch of adults to pressure kids they don’t know into the biggest decision of their lives. It’s a selfish thing to do, especially considering we don’t know which of the zillions of other possible things any recruit may be considering when figuring out which college he wants to go to.
Unhealthy as it may be, fans contacting recruits isn’t going anywhere and will likely only get worse as social media becomes more and more accessible and mainstream. The NCAA has mandated that boosters contacting recruits via social media is a recruiting violation, but they have yet to penalize any school for that happening, largely because there isn’t a major school in the country that’s innocent of it. Unless the NCAA decides to make an example out of somebody (and really, does anybody think they’re above that?) this is just going to keep going on.