Overzealous “UGA fan” calls recruit about his commitment status with Bulldogs

A person claiming to be a UGA fan recently called one of the team’s top football recruits to clarify the status of his commitment to the Bulldogs.

The ill-advised contact between the “fan” and the prospect, and the story behind it, instantly went viral on Twitter, and ignited heated discussions on a UGA team website and Rivals.com’s national message boards.  It also created some speculation that UGA may have to report an NCAA secondary violation — even though UGA appeared to have nothing to do with the phone call, and the unidentified person claiming to be a UGA fan may be a fan of another school.

An NCAA spokesperson told the AJC on Monday that it did not have enough information to “speculate about the situation” and how it applied to the rulebook, and recommended contacting UGA. Jim Booz, who works in compliance at UGA, said Monday he was aware of the situation and said that no NCAA secondary violation had occurred. “Based on the information at this time, there’s not enough information to conclude that there’s a rules violation.”

If anything, it’s a wild and wacky story about how passionate and overzealous some college football fans are about recruiting, and how far they will go to encourage top recruits to go to their favorite school – even if it may threaten to get the college in trouble.

For the record, there’s some gray area between defining the difference between a “booster” and “fan” in NCAA Bylaw 13.02.14,  based on the interpretation of this qualifying clause — [Persons that]  ”have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.”  That’s about as gray as it gets. But it’s clearly against NCAA rules for boosters or fans to lobby their college to recruits on Facebook and Twitter, even though it happens dozens a time per day across the country. That’s an NCAA secondary violation that may never again be enforced, just because of the sheer magnitude and rapid growth of Social Media.

However, it’s more personal contact like a random phone call to a recruit or in-person interaction that really raises eyebrows.

The UGA soap opera kicked off last week after a California newspaper reported that College of the Sequoias defensive back Steven Nelson said in an interview that he had committed to Texas Tech – which Nelson later denied. Nelson has been committed to UGA since last February.

“There’s no truth to that, and I was thinking about pressing charges because that’s false information,” Nelson said.

Last Thursday, Nelson was contacted by a person who wanted to know if he had indeed switched his commitment from UGA to Texas Tech. They talked for about 5-10 minutes.

“I get phone calls almost every day from college recruiters and reporters,” Nelson said. “He called me up, and I forgot what his name was. The way he was talking, I thought he was a reporter, so I stayed on the phone. He was just trying to convince me to stay with Georgia, told me how good of a player I was, and wished me a good year.”

“I didn’t think nothing of it until somebody called me, an ESPN guy [DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi], who told me the guy put it on Twitter that he talked to me on the phone.”

There was also a Rivals subscriber who claimed the same thing on Georgia’s team website, UGASports.com, and later got banned for it.

“Here’s all I know,” said Steve Patterson, publisher of UGASports.com. “One of my guys contacted me and said there was somebody on DawgVent saying they had been calling prospects of UGA. As we all know, that’s against NCAA bylaws, which are very encompassing when it comes to things stuff like that …

“The site staff removed the post. Then after that, the guy went on and on about how could do that if he wanted, and [to heck with] the NCAA. Then the guy sent some harassing emails to our staff. They contacted me and asked what to do, and I said blacklist him and have him contact me. That’s the last we all heard of it until he made some other posts around the Internet.

“He threatened to say he was going to call prospects, and then call Coach Richt and say we instructed him to do this, which is absurd. Over the years, we’ve gone out of the way to be very educated as a staff at UGASports on the NCAA rules, and we’re written extensively on the various bylaw changes. We’ve actually withheld doing things the way some other people in business, you could say, operate when it comes to dealing with coaches because of that, because we’re a dot-com, and we’re held to a little bit of suspicion in the first place. So we’ve always kept a very even keel when it comes to NCAA rules.”

“We will not stand by and let people knowingly break rules, whether it’s our rules or the NCAA’s rules. If some guy got on the DawgVent and said, ‘Hey, I just drank a 12-pack of beer and I’m driving home as fast as I can’ … I’m not saying we’d call the cops, but we’d definitely remove that post and say, ‘Dude, if you’re going to living outside of the law like that, our board is not a forum for you to brag about it.’”

UGASports.com ended up looking like the “good guys” in this situation. They have no obligation to help UGA monitor possible violations, inform its readers of the NCAA rules, or ban a paying customer for any type of post. Patterson sent an email to Claude Felton, UGA’s sports information director, to make him aware of the situation. “That was end of it until today. I guess he’s out there running his mouth or running his fingers somewhere on the Internet, which goes to show what a loose cannon this guy must be in the first place.”

This recruiting drama really picked up steam when a poster with the screen name of “BoneafideDawg” claimed on Rivals.com’s national messages boards he was “banned on the home board for saying I called a recruit.” It was unclear if this was the same person that called Nelson or posted on UGASports.

There were at least six pages of posts from fans from several SEC schools before the thread was deleted. “BoneafideDawg” made a futile attempt to defend the actions. Here’s a couple of his comments:

Some loser said I violated NCAA rules and I told him I didn’t since I wasn’t representing any program. I think informing other posters of this is what got be banned as Rivals want us to think they have some kind of special domain. Anyway … [expletive] them. I’m done paying money to kiss [expletive].

Why are you so conditioned to think you have to have a press pass to talk to an American citizen? These sites have people thinking they have some kind of special clearance. They don’t

Back to UGA: According to Booz, “There are five things that make someone become a booster, and one of them is if a fan is assisting in the recruiting of a prospect on Social Media, or over the telephone, or in person. If they solicit the enrollment of a prospect, then that’s a violation of NCAA rules.”

When the Bulldogs send out season tickets each year, there’s also a letter from UGA athletics director Greg McGarity which addresses contact between boosters and prospective student-athlete.

“Basically it says ‘Please leave all the recruiting up to our coaches,’” Booz said.

THIS JUST IN …

BECAUSE WE MISS THE OLYMPICS

MORE RECRUITING

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

276 comments Add your comment

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:32 am

Spurrier lube can be bought at CVS for $7.99 on Shoppe Rd. I would suggest any mutts coming into town stock up—it will be more comfortable

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:34 am

@par

we won 2 baseball championships in the last 3 years—you idiot….every time yall make the SEC Championship—LSU demolishes you muts =D

fairleysmooch

August 21st, 2012
10:35 am

Based on the AJC’s handling of the Foster story last week, if this were about Auburn, the headline would be “NCAA investigating Auburn for improper contact by booster.”

Dawg 'n IT

August 21st, 2012
10:36 am

philSC’s jabs have been rebooted more times than Punisher movies.

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:37 am

@par

does Richt give the players their own personal bibles down there?

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
10:37 am

Hey Phil
while you were typing, Auburn spanked your bottom and stole your thunder. Stevie is afraid of the west for good reason, he can’t beat anybody in the west. You have one division tittle in your SEC history. You got a lot to brag about, lol funny boy…

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

August 21st, 2012
10:39 am

I wonder if the person’s initials were…. MC or CT (AJC HOMER #1 and #2)…. hmmmmmmmmmm??

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
10:40 am

Phil
you also seem to know just a little too much about lil stevie’s jiffy-lube! Use it much??

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:43 am

Do yall hate getting bullied by SC fans? Well then beat us you punks!!!! Yall cant bully nobody anymore. Nobody is scared of you. Vandy almost beat you last year…lol. And just when you thought you had done something by winning the East—LSU hug 50 on you in your back yard =D enjoy your weak schedule but know one thing—when you come in to Cola in OCTOBER get ready to bend over =D…

AltamahaDawg

August 21st, 2012
10:43 am

This is not a violation. The caller got his father on the line to actually talk to the recruits. He never “knew” exactly what was said. It’s fine.

Dr. WTF

August 21st, 2012
10:43 am

So If I saw this kid on the street and said “hey kid you coming to play for UGA?” I would by definition become a booster? Learn something redundant about the NCAA everyday I guess.

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:45 am

@kingdaddy
does the Spurrier of Florida or the Spurrier of Carolina feel better?

pmax

August 21st, 2012
10:46 am

btw philSC, you guys have never beat us three years in a row. If you can’t beat auburn once in 25 years I think it’s time you stop talking about being big and mean.

[...] Overzealous UGA fan contacts recruit [...]

DD795

August 21st, 2012
10:48 am

The guy that called is a jailer. Just wants to make room for the recuit.

philSC

August 21st, 2012
10:50 am

@pmax
1980 is a long way away—–we circle you down as a gimme win every year. Spurrier said we he took the job,”My fans can expect two things 1)solid effort every saturday and 2) beating UGA every year.” then he chuckled

[...] full story can be viewed here. Share this:PrintEmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

TvilleDawg

August 21st, 2012
10:55 am

It is amazing that as a fan or booster you can not talk to any high school players about playing at the college level; but, espn, nike, and under armor can fly them all over the country for camps and playing on tv.

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
10:57 am

I like him much better right where he is. He hasn’t won anything in 8 years has he??

TJ

August 21st, 2012
10:57 am

We get anything (even a secondary) over this and I’m going to go open an account on a bunch of our rivals’ message boards and start calling recruits saying “I’m a fan/booster of Alabama, Florida, etc”. In fact, I think I’ll take it a step further and say “We really need you at ____________…could you use $1000 right now?”. I mean, if all it takes is CLAIMING you’re a fan of a certain program, I can cause a whole lot of problems, right?

Delbert D.

August 21st, 2012
11:05 am

@TvilleDawg – I was just thinking that myself. Hype, hype and more hype. I think that recruiting reporters should back off as well, but that’s protected by the First Amendment, them being “the press.” I don’t buy the suggestions that this was some, malicious conspiracy by (fill in the school); more likely it is one very obsessed individual.

PAR

August 21st, 2012
11:06 am

Baseball? lololol

Yes, UGA lost to LSU last year in the SEC championship… but every time? C’mon man.. the last time before that, UGA won big in the dome against LSU. Do you research BRAH.

Again… NOTHING in football. EVER

Ghost

August 21st, 2012
11:07 am

@philsc, 15-42-2 That’s South Carolina record vs Georgia, LOL at the “beat us you punks” remark, we have been beating on the SC punks for decades, South Carolina the most tradition-less football program in the SEC. I guess you’re just counting your blessing you don’t have to face Auburn ( south carolina is 1-9 all time vs. Auburn) this year.This from a program until 2011 under Spurrier that lost 5-6 games each season. What a joke.Win something and come back.

PAR

August 21st, 2012
11:07 am

I’m still laughing.

GeoffDawg

August 21st, 2012
11:08 am

Good Lord, what’s with all the anal fixation phil? Are you trying to quit smoking or something?

Randall "Pink" Floyd

August 21st, 2012
11:08 am

What’s really disturbing is that Steven Nelson couldn’t tell this wasn’t a reporter, despite the fact that he was repeatedly “encouraged” to attend UGA during the call. As if that’s SOP when “reporters” make call to recruits.

Pitbull

August 21st, 2012
11:11 am

So what is to keep fans from other schools from calling saying they are fans of their rivals schools and trying to disrupt their recruiting?

How can the NCAA ever prove that the “fan” is a fan of the school the recruit is committed to?

And remember if it happened to Georgia, then it can happen to Tech, Auburn, Florida, or any other school.

I am sure the NCAA can determine the poster’s name by the IP address if they investigate. The college could then sue the individual for damages to the program and the awards could be substantial.

It was a stupid thing to do by some immature little you know what.

Pitbull

August 21st, 2012
11:17 am

Well going to South Carolina is the next best thing to actually going to college.

And as for Auburn, if you want to know about Aubun cheating check the link to the New York Times below (you may have to cut and paste but it makes good reading).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/25/sports/ncaafootball/25rhoden.html

Terry

August 21st, 2012
11:23 am

philSC, I guess you have for gotten about the 44 points Arkansas laid on the Cocks.

Dawglasville

August 21st, 2012
11:24 am

philSC – USC has won FIVE bowl games in the history of the school. FIVE. The only school in the entire SEC – THE ENTIRE SEC – that has won less is Vandy. Kentucky has won more and they don’t even care about football. If you want to brag about secondary national titles the University of Georgia has won more than any school in the SEC. Your school academically is not close to UGA. Historically, you are not even the best football program in your state. You beat UGA twice in a row. That is it. Your campus is in a crummy city. What does USC have going for it? Piggie Park BBQ?Hell, even that place is owned by a racist nut job. Pleeeeeeeeease tell us more about how USC is soooo much better than UGA.

Blackoutanyone?

August 21st, 2012
11:27 am

Too funny!!!

Sounds like something Dawgnlex or Tampagator would do.

[...] was weird, the Georgia Bulldog faithful just took creepy to a new level by calling a recruit. According the AJC: The ill-advised contact between the “fan” and the prospect, and the story behind it, instantly [...]

Dawglasville

August 21st, 2012
11:36 am

philSC – Oh, and I know that Stevie Wonder is the end all and he can overcome everything but since it has been USC defense that has carried you during this run have you given any thoughts about losing your DC? Nah, I’m sure you are just going to out score everyone. Blog on.

Terry

August 21st, 2012
11:40 am

If you can find this guy, and go to his house, you’ll know if he’s a real Dawg Fan, by walking through his live quarters and talking to anyone that knows him. Trust me on that, just saying your a Dawg Fan on a blog, doesn’t prove your a Dawg Fan, or any other teams fan, I’ll give you three examples, GTBOB, GAMECHANGER, and TIDEROLL. ENOUGH SAID!!!

VegasGT

August 21st, 2012
11:42 am

This reek of Wheenie (wNe).

First, contact Vad Lee, a recruit at the time, and tell him not to sign with GT. Now do the flip and tell a recruit to remain loyal to UGA or sign with UGA.

The guy has some serious issues.

This is not a UGA issue, this is a general “stalker” issue.

VegasGT

August 21st, 2012
11:46 am

The authorities need to find this WheeniE character and tell him to stop contacting underage boys, maybe a restraining order is appropriate.

See Rock City

August 21st, 2012
11:47 am

it’s clearly against NCAA rules for boosters or fans to lobby their college to recruits on Facebook and Twitter, even though it happens dozens a time per day across the country. That’s an NCAA secondary violation!

Damn them thar UGA squidbilly’s!!!

tide roll

August 21st, 2012
11:50 am

This is what happens when you run THE MOST UNDER ACHEIVING program in college football. People are frustrated. 32 years is too adamn long.

PAR

August 21st, 2012
11:53 am

lol at turd roll

Jimmy Crack

August 21st, 2012
11:59 am

The NCAA rules committee needs a clown car so they can travel all around the country and tell everyone how STUPID THEIR RULES (AND ENFORCEMENT) ARE.

What’s to stop anyone from getting on twitter immediately to every 2013 Southeastern Conference recruit and start chatting about college choices? No wonder the Conferences and the BCS left the NCAA out of discussions about the future of college post season games.

Hey, NCAA, what’s going on with Miami and UNC, among other “investigations”?

NCAA = FAIL

The Bear

August 21st, 2012
12:06 pm

Who really cares? Blah…Blah….Blah. Now if Bama did this all the Witch Hunters from UGA would be out with there pitchforks looking for blood!

Roll Tide

Dubl Dawg

August 21st, 2012
12:13 pm

It looks like we have another genius inbound to Athens.

“There’s no truth to that, and I was thinking about pressing charges because that’s false information,” Nelson said.

“Pressing charges.” Really? It’s a crime to practice shoddy journalism?

If it were, the entire staff at the AJC would be doing life.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
12:18 pm

Deals being made……..Tell them you saw the ad on the AJC Blogs.

OK you DAWGS Deals are being made. Great family and cute Bulldog puppies. Check the site and get you your own Uga.
Location Riverstone Trail, Monroe, Georgia 30655
Phone 1 (404) 569-9235

Too cute!
A real dWag has to have one.

http://www.englishbulldogpuppychase.com/puppies/2012/gallery/gipper/large/gipper-06.jpg

Dubl Dawg

August 21st, 2012
12:19 pm

It’s pretty funny to see a bunch of Bammer bandwagon riders that never went to college at all talking trash about “fans” and “boosters” dealing with recruits. Those dealings set the Bammer program back 10 years, and all you could think to do is to blame Fuller for telling on you rather than blaming your own cohort of ignorant cornpones.

Larry Wayne Jones

August 21st, 2012
12:26 pm

UGA should immediately be put on probation for this egregious lack of institutional control!!

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
12:31 pm

Dubl dWag………is funny calling out Bama fans for not attending UA when most UGa fans never saw a classroom past 10th grade.

dawgwatcher

August 21st, 2012
12:33 pm

To a person SMART enough to know..your a complete dumbazz…your email name says it all….a pompous di-k. You come on this blog everyday and act like you know it all when in reality you are nothing more than a complete phony. You’ve never played football in your life because your really a moma’s boy…..you and tide roll are made for each other… neither one of you have ever played football in your life and are both full of sh-t!

Flying Tigers

August 21st, 2012
12:34 pm

Blaming bama fans or GT fans or somebody else’s fans. Look this guy was like 90% of the so called bulldog nation, he and most of them get their whole life’s idenity through 18 to 22 year old kids playing football because they have no true live or idenity of their on because most never attended college and also never finished high school and if uga’s football team had 3 or 4 bad years half of them would jump ship because they need a winner to help promote their own sorry image of themselves. Calling kids being recruited, what dumbazz or idiots Georgia has. But don’t worry guys with the cupcake schedule you play it should be a great year. If you don’t win 11 it just will prove over again that Richt is not that good of coach, oh excuse me I know he is a great christian man thats why he recruits the high class Caleb Kings and washout Ealy’s and the great I. Crowell’s of the world. Yep real classy coach, but stay with it. Someday you might actually not look so hypocritical if you ever do truly recruit the kids that deserve the scholarship in the first pl instead of 4 and 5 star nimrods and punks who have no business at any school. So much for OUR state university…football deives your whole idenity, your school is mainly a joke and you don’t care. It is the truth….just how many football games we win mentality.

Chi-Town BBaller

August 21st, 2012
12:35 pm

An Overzealous Fan calls a young kid about an internet rumor. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!……………this guy needs to grow up, get a life, and stop stalking kids. Oh, I forgot, that’s how college football makes all of their money, young kids…………………………………

Chi-Town BBaller

August 21st, 2012
12:39 pm

A Person Smart enough to know…………………Now that was Funny……..LMAO