NCAA goes after Web group
Leave it to the NCAA to make a big fuss over an issue that could be put to rest with a little common sense.
Surely, common sense would tell the NCAA that a student starting a Facebook group aimed at expressing a desire to have a big-time basketball recruit attend his university is no more harmful than if said student told schoolmates he wanted to see this player on campus next year. Essentially, that’s all Taylor Moseley was doing, not committing an NCAA violation.
Moseley, a freshman at North Carolina State, came under fire last weekend when he was threatened with disciplinary action for starting a Facebook group called ‘John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!’ Wall, the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit and a standout point guard at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., is being courted by several quality programs, including N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke, Baylor, Kansas and Kentucky.
The NCAA said social Web sites such as Facebook could be used to influence recruits’ decisions, and that actions such as those taken by Moseley, violate its rules. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson told The Associated Press that a Facebook page is a high-tech way to try to influence recruits.
Talk about blatant rationalization.
In an attempt to resolve the situation, N.C. State compliance director Michelle Lee sent Moseley a cease and desist letter, warning that ‘further action’ would be taken if he didn’t agree to the demands. Moseley somewhat complied, renaming his group ‘Bring a National Title back to NC STATE!’ but leaving a photo of Wall.
Other Facebook groups with names such as ‘Bring John Wall to Baylor’ and ‘John Wall belongs at UNC’ still exist. The Associated Press also reported that there are a minimum of four groups that would like to see Wall land at Kentucky. Expect more such groups to pop up in protest if the NCAA decides to make this issue larger than it already is.
The situation likely will soon die down, but it’s almost laughable that it reached this point to begin with. The NCAA really stretched its reasoning with this case.
The organization claimed that it was concerned about possible intrusion into a high school student’s life, and it’s likely that Facebook could play a role in this. But there’s little evidence to support the claim that Moseley’s group provided much intrusion, if any, into Wall’s life.
It’s one thing if Moseley or one of the group’s 700-plus members had sent an e-mail, text message, or instant message to Wall, wrote on his Facebook ‘wall’ or added him as a friend to suggest that he pick N.C. State. The same goes for groups with affiliations to other schools. This would definitely be akin to fans recruiting players, which is in direct violation to NCAA rules.
Yet, there have been no reports of Moseley or any other fans having directly contacted Wall. Plus, it’s not as if these students were found to have been directly affiliated with their school’s athletic department.
These fans were just expressing their opinion using a social Web site, similar to die-hard fans who provide similar sentiments on message boards. They’ve been doing this stuff for years and will continue to do so.
Common sense says the NCAA should just give it a rest.