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

intheknow

August 21st, 2012
4:22 pm

Well I just got the new SI in the mail today and they have Alabama #1…thats the kiss of death to all you Bama fans…in all the years SI has beeen picking college football NC winners they’ve NEVER been right.For them to pick Bama to win the NC is a joke. With ony four starters coming back on defense there’s no way they even win the SEC West. They’ll lose at least 3-4 games this year and Auburn will kick thier ass as well as LSU and Michigan. Can’t wait for the crying to begin from all you trailer trash Bama fans….It’s gonna be fun to watch!

Chris

August 21st, 2012
4:24 pm

Funny – a “compliance” coordinator at the #5 party school in the country named Jim Booz……just coincidence or an apt description?

Bamajim

August 21st, 2012
4:24 pm

If Saban Wanted this guy he would of done been recruting him, way before Ga. even started. Relax Ga. fans, have a peach. lol Saban doesn’t want him.

[...] is a thread about this story in the recruiting forums. Overzealous “UGA fan” calls recruit about his commitment status with Bulldogs | AJC Coll… Glad it was a Georgia guy and not [...]

Bamajim

August 21st, 2012
4:33 pm

intheknow, is’nt very in the know.If you was really in the know, you’d know that yes they lost a lot of starters, but have backups that played just as much as the starters. We know who it is that gonna lose 3- 4 games, and it’s not Bama. If it barks like a dog, then it must be a dog. I like most Ga. fans, but this intheknow, seems to know more about trailer trash than football. You don’t sell guns do you?

Bamajim

August 21st, 2012
4:34 pm

What I would like you know is, where this every day joe fan got the number to call him.

Special K

August 21st, 2012
4:40 pm

Oversigning and now pups calling prospects. Come on pup fans, ease off the gas ok.

Really?

August 21st, 2012
4:43 pm

It sounds like 5150 aka smart enough aka fried twinkie aka a dozen other names got bored building birdhouses and borrowed his mom’s phone so he could act out some of his hate filled fantasies.

It would be a real shame if a lot of overzealous fans of various programs pretended to be fans of say bama and called their recruits and targets and offered them cash or hookers or whatever to go to that cesspool in tuscaloser. The trade school barely has any commits and none of their fans care so it would be obviously fake to pretend to be a trade school fan.

[...] to student-athletes. Whether it’s following them on Twitter, friending them on Facebook, or calling them. But what access should be [...]

BLT

August 21st, 2012
4:55 pm

@Really? What?

Did you drink too much wine when you were “wineing and dineing clients”?

It’s possible this is a “GT Fan”. His name/moniker is WnE but he’s really all UGA. So, it’s not a Tech fan. The whole account is in line with a” blind running UGA homer”.

intheknow

August 21st, 2012
4:56 pm

Bamajim….you post just like your name…you can’t take the trailer trash out of the Bama fan…you Bama fans are the most pompous fans in America…… and the most full of sh-t. Have fun getting your azz beat by Michigan in your first game….its gonna be fun to watch!

Really?

August 21st, 2012
4:57 pm

The definition of ironic-posters who live on the ajc blogs making several dozen posts minimum every day insulting and spewing hate about Georgia pretending outrage over a fake Georgia fan trying to damage Georgia’s recruiting.

BILLY JACK

August 21st, 2012
4:59 pm

Every school in the country including the University of Georgia has creepy. uneducated fans I wish we could put him in jail under the new stalking laws.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
5:01 pm

Too bad the Republicans didn’t have………REALLY?………..as an investigator then Clinton’s sexual exploits and Obama’s college papers would have been uncovered years ago.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
5:03 pm

UOAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trolls!

UOAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BILLY JACK

August 21st, 2012
5:03 pm

If this was a tech nerd that did this please out him asap so the Georgia faithful can beat the daylights out of this jackass.Micheal please produce his name so he can get the street justice he deserves.

Really?

August 21st, 2012
5:05 pm

BLT

I doubt you ever eat the l or t but I bet you gobble down lots of bacon at every meal. Yes it makes perfect sense that a fan of Georgia would try to hurt the program and continue to keep posting comments that would possibly get Georgia in trouble. That makes a lot more sense than it being some bitter fan of another program

Really?

August 21st, 2012
5:12 pm

smart enough

It’s after 5 so your baby mama will be home soon. You better sweep the basement or she might ask you to actually get a job.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
5:18 pm

REALLY?……………I run my own business and Pay my Baby Mama’s to stay the f away.

Chuck UUGA

August 21st, 2012
5:23 pm

This is bull_. Georgia or any other school cannot take responsibility for policing anyone who decides to call a prospect. What a great idea though! I could call all of Bama’s and Tennessee’s recruits and tell the player I am a fan of the school and recruit them over the phone therefore getting both schools in trouble! See how preposterous this is?!!!

Old Dawg

August 21st, 2012
5:35 pm

Dude needs to get a freaking life!

intheknow

August 21st, 2012
5:40 pm

SMART enough…..is a real class act….he runs his own business..like mowing lawns. I’ll bet the ladies are just standing in line to go out with him…I’ll bet he’s way over weight and spends his evenings watching reruns of old Alabama football games in his trailer!

Rodney Garner

August 21st, 2012
5:52 pm

The 1st poster clearly doesn’t understand anything about recruiting and how UGA operates.

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

August 21st, 2012
5:59 pm

They should lose a scholarship for this.

GFJacket

August 21st, 2012
6:01 pm

The NCAA really needs to do a zero-based review of its rules. This one is stupid. Until the caller can have his identity authenticated, it is unenforceable and more likely to be applied by opposing fans to get a potential recruit and his school in trouble.

CC

August 21st, 2012
6:12 pm

Why is this even news Michael? Really?

KNOWBODYYOUKNOW

August 21st, 2012
6:15 pm

College football is getting as nasty as politics in this country. Next thing we know some rival nutcase is gonna demand to know how much taxes CMR payed the last couple of years.

1eyedJack

August 21st, 2012
6:24 pm

Michael, I’d like to report a really creepy guy calling me up and trying to recruit me to vote for some chump named Obuma.

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
6:29 pm

Some where far off in the distance, faintly but insessant….I hear a baby crying for it’s,momma….Oh never mind, it’s just Steve Spurrier still crying about UGA winning the east…

Guy who paid Cam

August 21st, 2012
6:42 pm

Seriously. This is a story?

Gorilla Biscuit

August 21st, 2012
6:43 pm

It’s a sad day in gorilladom with the news of the passing of Ivan at the Atlanta Zoo. Damn good Gorilla.

Some say Ivan was gay, but that ain’t right. He was just shy and having not seen a female until middle age he never had anybody ’splain what went where to him. And they wouldn’t give him any Viagra.

bitter dawg fan

August 21st, 2012
6:45 pm

that fan may also be a ———FRY COOK at the VARSITY

bitter dawg fan

August 21st, 2012
7:06 pm

Bamma knows all about foolish FANS—-LEE HARVEY UPDYKE back at

his ole TRICKS———–TUSK–UR–LOOSERS

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
7:14 pm

Gorilla B………….good you said that….I am too old to LOVE Ivan I am a Willie B guy but nice post.

intheknow
August 21st, 2012
5:40 pm

SMART enough…..is a real class act….he runs his own business..like mowing lawns.
==========================================================

Sorry but I didn’t go to UGa to get my Landscape Engineering Degree with a minor in Spanish inorder to talk to my Illegal employees.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
7:17 pm

Gorilla B……..who said Ivan liked the boys? He had more offspring than WILLIE B. Willie B was alone so long he didn’t know what to do with hie Big Nanner when he was free. Too bad most convicts don’t act/feel the same way. :)

Dewayne

August 21st, 2012
7:22 pm

Cue the music to Psycho…………………………………now!!

Gorilla Biscuit

August 21st, 2012
7:26 pm

I beg to differ SMART, the AJC article said Ivan was childless.

Oringe n Bloo

August 21st, 2012
7:27 pm

Okay, I admit it, I called the recruit and told him I was a goergia fan cause I wonted to git goergia in troubles. I went to U of F and gaters want to get back to the top no mater what they half to do to git thar. I uh.. I fergot what I was sayin, but anyway.. I won’t base. I’ll take a drank.. but I won’t freebase cocane. I wont do it.

Gorilla Biscuit

August 21st, 2012
7:29 pm

I too had a soft spot for Willie B. I went to see him many times in the 80’s and 90’s when I live in the Atlanta area. He was a gorilla’s gorilla.

AAAA½ Bail Bonds R Us

August 21st, 2012
7:39 pm

How many dawgs arrested today?

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
7:40 pm

Gorilla B…………check again Ivan has a few kids since he was added to the Ford African Rain Forest Exhibit.

AU is UGA's Daddy

August 21st, 2012
7:45 pm

Deflection deflection deflection

DawgMangeinColumbia

August 21st, 2012
7:58 pm

Overzealous ? Average !!!!!

Dawg'88

August 21st, 2012
8:29 pm

Let me get this straight…

This fan tries to influence a recruit to come to UGA or at least talks to the player about commitments. And yet….high school coaches pimp their players to go to colleges that they want them to….boosters try to influence decisions everyday….fathers ask for money (see Scam Newton’s dad), etc.

This is a story?!! Really?!!

Give me a break….stop all of those ethics viloations first before showing phony outrage and railing against an overzealous fan. Hypocrites.

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
9:11 pm

Gorilla Biscut
I’m truly sorry for your loss. I guess that means no little Ivans unless they were adopted…

Gamecock in Georgia

August 21st, 2012
9:33 pm

Kingdaddy we did not win the East but we beat your sorry butts

Gamecock in Georgia

August 21st, 2012
9:34 pm

And stop calling yur recruits begging thm to stay

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
9:40 pm

Gorilla B….you are right IVAN never had babies. I though he did but he never socialized that well after his hard early years. That is sad for sure.

kingdaddy

August 21st, 2012
9:54 pm

Gamecluck
enjoy your two wins, lol. We have beat you guys so many times, we quit counting. Tell me, have you won anything important, because we all know that the SECe is no big deal right? Tell me Gamecluck…….just what have you won???

Dawg48

August 21st, 2012
10:01 pm

I’m board.