With the Spring signing periods fast approaching, the University of Rhode Island Office of NCAA Compliance has produced the following guidelines regarding potential student-athletes/recruits and social media.
Most prospective student-athletes use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with both their family and friends and the general public. When it comes to the recruiting process, there are detailed rules and regulations regarding permissible interaction.
As a reminder, here are some very important rules for fans, friends, and boosters of the University of Rhode Island's teams and programs to know.
Let's start with the definition of a Representative of Athletics Interests or "booster." The NCAA broadly defines a "booster" as an individual, agency, entity or organization who is known by an institution to:
- Have participated in or been a member of an agency that promotes the institution's intercollegiate athletics program
- Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or a booster organization for the department
- Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program
- Have been a season ticket holder
- Have provided benefits to student-athletes or their relatives or friends
Boosters are subject to limitations on their contact with prospective student-athletes. One component of NCAA rules is that only the authorized coaches may recruit on behalf of the institution. Boosters are not permitted to recruit prospective student-athletes on behalf of the institution. And while likely well-intended, contacting recruits through social media is prohibited by the NCAA and will hurt Rhode Island's recruiting efforts.
- It is a violation of NCAA rules for a booster to contact a prospective student-athlete by Twitter or Facebook to encourage them to attend Rhode Island.
- Representatives of athletics interests are NOT permitted to use social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram to contact or otherwise attempt to correspond with PSAs.
- This includes, but is not limited to:
- posting on a Facebook wall
- commenting on photos of a recruit
- using the inbox/email feature to contact a recruit
- instant messaging
- "@" replies on Twitter
- "mentions" on Twitter
- direct messaging
- It is impermissible for a booster to set up a fan page in order to encourage a specific prospect to attend Rhode Island, such as a page entitled “Rhody Fans Love Top Recruit.”
- Since the University of Rhode Island is held responsible for the conduct of its boosters, any attempt by a booster to create a fan page would require us self-report a violation of NCAA rules.
- It is not impermissible for boosters to follow a prospective student-athlete on Facebook or Twitter, as long as they are not reaching out to that recruit to in any way encourage them to attend Rhode Island.
- Boosters may not contact a prospect even if a prospective student-athlete invites people to contact him or her to advise them about what school to choose.
- Members of the media can also be defined as being boosters, depending on the context. It is important to note that, so that the media member focuses on gathering information rather than pushing a specific agenda/message.
For more information or if you have any questions regarding NCAA Compliance, click here.