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

Just Sayin'

August 21st, 2012
1:51 am

Whoever this guy was that called the recruit, Mark Richt ought to give him a JOB.

This is more of a recruiting effort than Coach Rodney Garner has done over the last four years. Rodney “Georgia was too late to offer” Garner waits until a kid has 25 offers before UGA gets involved. With commits, he is also a slacker too. He thinks Georgia kids should just fall in our laps when they get a late offer. That’s why Alabama runs our state unfortunately. I’d like to see Mike Bobo relieved as offensive coordinator and be the new RC.

DaDawg

August 21st, 2012
1:51 am

It can get boring in Athens.

Oh and first?

Jim Donnan

August 21st, 2012
1:52 am

I confess, it was me!

Bravedawg

August 21st, 2012
3:38 am

What a prick this “FAN” is!! If he WAS any kind of a Dawg fan, he’d shut up and quit stirring the pot. Unless he’s just trying to gain notoriety, which means he has no real life and is trying to create one on the web. Let’s hope this loser gets lost before DawgNation has to pay the price.

J-dawg

August 21st, 2012
3:48 am

Recruits: please don’t let this event dissuade you from coming to UGA! I hear this guy was trying to sabotage us!

Peter

August 21st, 2012
3:51 am

I’d be willing to bet the guy in question isn’t even a UGA fan. He’s probably just a guy trying to stir up some BS.

Eric C.

August 21st, 2012
3:53 am

If people could only be this passionate about the truly important things…whew

Alfonso

August 21st, 2012
4:00 am

At least he’s not paying guys like fans of other schools have in the past. LOL

Stinger 2

August 21st, 2012
4:12 am

It could have been GTBob. LOL

Poopdawg

August 21st, 2012
5:13 am

The caller was a Saben analyst. He thought Bama might play the Dawgs next year, and was just covering all the bases. That Saben work work work.

macrotech

August 21st, 2012
5:13 am

WOW…HOW would you even BEGIN to regulate something like this?! Really? UGA shouldn’t have to get any kind of slap on the hand for this…there’s NO way they could have stopped this from happening.

Ghostzilla

August 21st, 2012
5:40 am

I couldnt help myself. I had gotten help after the AJ incident, but it resurfaced. I’ll try and control myself. Glory to the G……GHOST

7576DAWG

August 21st, 2012
5:59 am

If this guy is truly a Dawg fan he is not a very smart one . More than likely he is no Dawg fan but a Georgia Tech fan. Either way if he gets identified he will get banned from a lot of sites and possible places. He could cost himself a lot more trouble than he wanted.

BobDawg

August 21st, 2012
6:01 am

Richt needs to pull a BOBBY KNIGHT and say he will expose the guy to all of BullDawg Nation if this happens with any booster…

Jan Kemp

August 21st, 2012
6:11 am

… Not a very intelligent Georgia fan

(shocking)

Sourgrapes

August 21st, 2012
6:18 am

20 bucks says this idiot didn’t even go to UGA.

And he was no Tech fan, spend 30 seconds googling the user name.

[...] that is.  Georgia is hardly immune. A person claiming to be a UGA fan recently called one of the team’s top football recruits to [...]

Trust in Richt

August 21st, 2012
6:47 am

I’m a little surprised it wasn’t OCD over on the DawgChat. He can get a little overzealous at times!

Baloneyismyfirstname!

August 21st, 2012
6:54 am

Hopefully he is not a gun owner

Dagny

August 21st, 2012
6:56 am

There’s no story here. It’s just business as usual from the cheaters in Athens.

UGA, the Cesspool of the South

Neutral

August 21st, 2012
6:58 am

I agree…….it’s gotta be GTBob!!!!

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

August 21st, 2012
7:11 am

Hopefully with the season approaching this fan will get distracted with other activities such as switching his mud flaps, trimming his mullet, erecting a deer stand, or frying pig fat to make homemade pork rinds for the home football games.

Game Changer

August 21st, 2012
7:21 am

Anything to help promote a pay site for the so called leach reporters to make income off those who think they are in the know. This was a great marketing effort by those involved and it is silly to say citizens have no right to contact anyone and talk football.

This has been going on the last several years in a major way with so called espn etc. writers reporting on thier own college team and having continuing contact with recruits.

Every bit of this is a joke

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

August 21st, 2012
7:42 am

I wonder if the “overzealous” uga fan happened to work for the AJC ?????????

Respect Lord Saban

Whiskey Breath

August 21st, 2012
7:49 am

And you guys call Bama rednecks? Hell, I know redneck behavior and that is it.
Overzealous? No, that is just redneck. I guess Tech has been right about you guys.

Big Crimson 75

August 21st, 2012
7:55 am

Check WnE’s cell records!!

The Sham

August 21st, 2012
7:59 am

I have to say my first reaction is to call this guy a knucklehead but it brings up a tough point as a fan. I recently ran into Shaq Wiggins, Alvin Kamara and another recruit who I didnt recogniz at the airport as they were coming back from the gridiron kings camp. They were all dress in the camp’s jumpers so it was hard to miss them. But I felt compelled to give them the obligatory GO DAWGS but I refrained for fear of the same reasons discussed here (and perhaps out of fear of being that guy). I know these are on the opposite end of the fan spectrum but in this day and age of showing these kids “the love”, I was a bit regretful I didnt.

RP

August 21st, 2012
8:00 am

The NCAA is out of control to think they can write rules about random fans contacting players. There is no possible way for the institutions to controll this.

hunker don for another ass kicking today

August 21st, 2012
8:01 am

Someone in the know, please advis whether Mark is planning on dressing out the players in their Boy Next Door Boutique Jet suits for the Missouri game? They are so darling and sexy in them. I believe they actually make them meaner and faster. Just because they got bowled over in them against Boise State is no reason to put them away forever.

Hold on!!!!

August 21st, 2012
8:02 am

@ Whiskey Breath, Please do not associate the UGA fans that are good people with fans like this one. Not all UGA fans are bad and not all Tech fans are bad.

Sam

August 21st, 2012
8:02 am

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
8:04 am

It was Thomas Brown/13-1/buLLdawg

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
8:05 am

So UGa has Tree Killer Tea Bagger type fans too.

WDE

August 21st, 2012
8:06 am

This is a story?? Seriously?? We at AU simply have our coaches/players/fan claim ignorance when questioned about recruiting violations. ;)

gt4ever

August 21st, 2012
8:06 am

WnE strikes again….

hunker down for another ass kicking today

August 21st, 2012
8:07 am

With the Dawgs being rated 5th or 6th in the nation, we can assume that all remnants of Jan Kemp’s impact about studies are long gone. regardless, the Dawgs ignorant fan base will be squalling like tiny tears very soon into the season. Like say for example after they visit Missouri their second game. Even with their cupcake and gimme opponents this year, I am predicting at least 3 losses. All these 4 and 5 star players are so eat up with jealousy and wanting to gon onto the pros, they will never get together as a team. get er’ done my ass.

Dawg48

August 21st, 2012
8:08 am

Its a sad day when grown men stalk 16 year old high school boys on Twitter.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
8:11 am

48……..WnE is a classic for doing that to Vad Lee.

[...] spurned the UGA fan to contact Nelson to confirm his commitment, and they talked for about 5-10 minutes. “I get phone calls almost [...]

jh

August 21st, 2012
8:16 am

funny how a program that hasn’t done squadoosh in 30 years has so many delusioal fans who think they are some elite college.

JM

August 21st, 2012
8:17 am

This had to be WnE, right?

Paddy

August 21st, 2012
8:18 am

Can you say Postal Worker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roberta

August 21st, 2012
8:24 am

Who cares? Message to all of you: Get a life!

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

George Stein

August 21st, 2012
8:35 am

DC

August 21st, 2012
8:42 am

You guys have it all wrong…it was Columbus Dawg..that guy is one of your most rabid supporters..and has mental issues…

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
8:47 am

It was Todd Grantham’s neighbors son. Todd had him call to make sure the kid was All Dwag or still a DGD.

bucket

August 21st, 2012
8:56 am

It is hilarious to me to sit here and read the comments from some of you that don’t even realize you are in the same category as the overzealous fan who called the recruit. The only difference between that guy and some of you is that he actually had enough courage to call the kid and not just sit behind an anonymous keyboard and throw stones all day.

@hunker down

August 21st, 2012
9:03 am

“Remnants of Jan Kemp’s impact about studies” do live on. You are surely aware that in the wake of Kemp, UGA raised their standards above those required by the NCAA, and while it was painful to see recruits getting in at fellow SEC/ACC schools that Georgia could not touch, the school has obviously recovered big time if you go by the success of the overall athletic program and the accomplishments of our athletes relative to other SEC/ACC competitors.

The fact that UGA detractors have to go back almost 30 years to find something to be critical of, speaks volumes. Need to quit living in the past and always bringing up Jan Kemp and 1980.

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 21st, 2012
9:03 am

Bucket………….many of us know we are the same but know better than to pick up the phone. I don’t really contact recruits. I am Facebook friends with Tech players.

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