The NCAA has formally approved the use of Twitter for recruiting purposes. This is definitely big news for college coaches, who will use Twitter to sent direct messages to high school recruits. But what about agents? Agents are bound by strict NCAA regulations that prohibit contact with a student athletes until a certain point of their collegiate careers (depending on the sport). Now, can agents, like college coaches, use sites like Twitter and Facebook to talk to athletes of any age, as long as they follow specific instructions? These are the instructions for coaches:
- On Twitter, stay away from @ comments. Instead of reaching out to student-athletes by sending a message via @ reply, send it in a direct message. This way, the conversation is 2-way and not open for all to see.
- On Facebook, stay away from wall posts. Send messages to individuals, instead. Again, this creates the 2-way convo and does not allow others to chime in.
- No problem being an athlete’s Friend on Facebook or Follower on Twitter.
Such Facebook messages and Twitter direct messages are considered to be the equivalent of an e-mail or blog post. Interestingly, Instant Messages and text messages are still prohibited. Almost anyone who uses Twitter on a phone receives Facebook and Twitter messages as texts…why make the distinction when there really is none? A text is also kept private like a Direct Message on Twitter. Is it because Facebook messages and Twitter DMs leave a trail, whereas texts are not kept on any type of server? This way, just in case, the NCAA could sweep in and take over a student-athlete’s account and check on the messages going back and forth; something you cannot do with texts, which are often times deleted from a phone after roughly 15 days.
Anyway, NCAA Division I Bylaw 188.8.131.52 does not make it clear as to whether or not agents now have the same rights as coaches. Anyone at the NCAA reading this that can fill us in?