Earlier today, class of 2015 five-star running back Damien Harris announced that he would be de-committing from the University of Michigan, sparking outrage from the lunatic fringe on social media.
We see this every time a recruit chooses against the University of Michigan. Recent examples are when five-star wide receiver George Campbell de-committed and when the number one recruit in the 2014 class, defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, chose Alabama.
Most are supportive and understanding of the decision, but there is always the very vocal minority that absolutely destroys your faith in the advancement of the human race.
It is not necessary to provide examples for this, as we should not really be bringing attention to some of the filth on social media, but NCAA and University of Michigan rules are very specific when it comes to the contact that recruits have online.
Boosters are not permitted to Tweet, Facebook or contact recruits in any way. Let the coaches do the recruiting.
— Michigan Compliance (@umichcompliance) January 15, 2014
People have this idea in their minds that boosters are just rich alumni that donate a large amount of money to the university. Guess what? If you have ever bought tickets to a game, bought Wolverines apparel, or made any other sort of purchase affiliated with the University of Michigan or the NCAA, you are a booster.
If you spend money on the program, you are a booster, and this rule applies to you.
Far too often on social media fans are tweeting or sending other content to recruits attempting to persuade a prospect to come to their favorite school.
Here are some anonymous examples from things that have been sent to Damien Harris on Twitter today:
“All we need is @Damien_D1Harris at UK now! #BBN #StoopsTroops”
“Don’t need @Damien_D1Harris at Michigan. They already have a stable of young backs. Chump wouldn’t see the field.”
“@Damien_D1Harris just the possibility of you coming to UK has made my day. If you came to UK we would no longer be a basketball school”
These are just a few examples of what has been tweeted at Harris today. All anyone has to do to see more of this is just check his mentions on Twitter. It is not just Harris, though. This happens to damn near every big name recruit that has a social media account, and it is a bit disturbing.
Talk about recruiting, be supportive to recruits, but do not tag them in any of your posts. Not only is it creepy, it is also a borderline NCAA violation.
Harris’ coach said the only impact a fan can have on a prospect’s recruitment is a negative one. Apparently Michigan fans have been nasty.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 21, 2014
Social media has created a platform for people to sit beyond a computer screen and type what they want with zero accountability. Athletes understand that. Coaches understand that. Fans understand that.
The bad apples will never go away, but hopefully people can understand that the only thing that comes from tweeting at recruits is disinterest from the player in the corresponding fan base.