Clemson: No NCAA wrongdoing found after NFL player tweets at Nkemdiche (UPDATED)

Clemson determined on Friday that it was not guilty of an NCAA secondary violation  after an NFL player directed a series of  Twitter messages to the nation’s No. 1-ranked high school prospect this week earlier this week.

The NFL player was De’Quan Bowers, the former Clemson All-America defensive tackle who now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bowers directed three tweets on Monday to Grayson High School defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who is verbally committed to Clemson.

The tweets from Bowers raised concerns, particularly among fans of colleges that are competing against Clemson for Nkemdiche, that the NFL player may be illegally recruiting for the Tigers over Social Media.

On Friday, Clemson spokesman Tim Bourret told the AJC in an email, “After reviewing the matter it has been determined that no violation has occurred” and that it was “case closed.”

Bowers Tweets Nkemdiche

When asked about the Clemson’s policy on former players contacting prospective-student athletes over Social Media, Bourret said, “Boosters are not to contact prospects, unless there is a pre-existing relationship … Clemson does not encourage the practice or arrange for former student-athletes OR boosters to contact prospective student-athletes.”

Former Clemson All-America DT De'Quan Bowers plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AP)

Former Clemson All-America DT De'Quan Bowers plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AP)

It’s against NCAA rules for a booster to recruit prospects over Facebook and Twitter, even though it happens dozens a time per day across the country (Even a fan of a college, with no other connections to the school, could be defined as a booster under the broad terminology in NCAA Bylaw 13.02.14). It’s an NCAA secondary violation that is rarely enforced because of the sheer magnitude and rapid growth of Social Media.

Bowers isn’t the first person who could be considered a booster to tweet at Nkemdiche and he won’t be the last. But the reason that Bowers’ messages stood out more others is because of his popularity as a former Clemson star and NFL player. Some supporters of opposing college teams expressed anger on message boards, feeling like Bowers provided Clemson with a recruiting advantage by giving a high school player public acknowledgement or a “shout out” among his 72,000+ Twitter followers.

On Friday, Clemson also said it reached the conclusion that “no violation occurred because Daquan was not directed by anyone on our staff and he has not triggered booster status.”

When the AJC asked the NCAA for a clarification on Bowers’ tweets, a spokesman issued the following statement, along with recommending contacting Clemson’s compliance office for feedback:

When it comes to the use of social media, the NCAA rules in place govern what is permissible during the recruiting process. The rules state the only permissible forms of electronic communication for recruiting are e-mail and faxes. Due to the nature of the direct one-to-one private communication that can be used through social networking sites, this type of communication is viewed as a form of e-mail and therefore permissible.

All other electronically transmitted correspondence including, but not limited to, Instant Messenger, chat rooms or message boards [e.g., a user’s wall] within a social networking Web site or through other services or applications remain impermissible.

The monitoring, regulating and expectations of social media sites used by student-athletes on college campuses are done on a campus level, although at times it can also serve as an information resource for NCAA enforcement staff investigators. If a school receives information about a potential violation and it is reasonable to believe social networking information would be helpful, they should monitor this information.

Institutions need to ensure their personnel, student-athletes and individuals affiliated with the institution are following the NCAA guidelines in place. If violations are discovered via social media, it is the institution’s responsibility to report those violations and educate the individuals on how their actions could possibly affect the school and the eligibility of themselves/student-athletes. Failure to do so could result in more severe circumstances if not addressed.

What are your thoughts? Please post below.




– 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

42 comments Add your comment

London Olympics

September 7th, 2012
6:13 pm

Clemson!! Clemson of all the schools?, this boi doesnt belong to ACC , he a an SEC material, think twice young man

Northern Dawg

September 7th, 2012
6:14 pm

If this is not an NCAA violation, then why doesn’t every NFL superstar tweet at his college’s top recruiting targets? I’d have Adrian Peterson hit up every kid that Texas wants, I’d have Cam Newton tweet at every kid Auburn wants, and Tom Brady tweet at every kid that Michigan wants. Just a few words of encouragement and “nothing related to recruited.” Yeah right, Bowers (wink, wink). This is most definitely an NCAA secondary violation, and I’m surprised Clemson did not report it as such.

Rick James

September 7th, 2012
7:38 pm

Something tells me that Robert will be lining up someplace other than Clemson next year.

Delbert D.

September 7th, 2012
8:57 pm

It’s only a commitment. That’s not like it’s anything real.

C Dirty

September 7th, 2012
10:04 pm

Haters gon’ hate. It kills you inbreds that RN is signing with Clemson. AJC is doing its best to get him elsewhere, but it won’t happen. Kinda like with the article earlier on RN’s mom. Dabo told RN not to commit unless he seriously meant it and even gave him the option to back out. He committed anyway. Once she gets on campus and meets Dabo, she’ll see the light.

hind tit

September 7th, 2012
10:58 pm

Me thinks trouble will follow where ever this kid lands.


September 8th, 2012
7:11 am

“once she gets on campus and meets Dablow, she’ll see the light”. By light I’m assuming you mean cash, cars, new home, etc. Kind of like when Spiller was homesick for his girlfriend & child and looking at transferring to Florida, then all of a sudden girlfriend & child are moved to Clemson with house and job. Guess they saw the “light”

Gorilla Biscuit

September 8th, 2012
8:20 am

I used to love reading Tower’s recruiting blog. This guy…not so much.


September 8th, 2012
8:37 am

The NCAA’s definition of a booster is so vague it’s a joke. I am surprised that it has not been challenged. Seriously, Nkemdiche himself could be considered a booster for trying to recruit his teammates to Clemson. However, if the tweets came after Nkemdiche’s mom complained that she did not want him to go to Clemson then according to the NCAA rules this would definitely be a vilolation. This kid just needs to go where HE wants to go.


September 8th, 2012
8:56 am

Look it is only a matter of time before Clemson goes down in flames.

That disaster of a school embarks on a cheating spree every time their rival begins to beat them down on a regular basis.

Cheating is what Clemson does best.

Big Crimson 75

September 8th, 2012
9:32 am

It’s a beautiful trip to T-Town this morning, made all the more sweeter with the news from late yesterday that Bo Scarborough has committed to the Tide.
The RB position @ Bama in 2014 could be down-right scary!!
It might be un-fair!!
TJ Yeldon, Dee Hart, Tyrene Jones, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny & Bo Scarborough!!

22 SEC Titles

September 8th, 2012
9:47 am

Big Crimson enjoy the game today. BO is in the house lol….. I think this kid with his size could be another Julio Jones. Roll Tide

Big Crimson 75

September 8th, 2012
9:56 am

22 — I always thought the kid was a RB, but according to many on the radio, WR likely will be his position @ Bama.

Army Jacket

September 8th, 2012
10:54 am

If this is not an NCAA violation, then why doesn’t every NFL superstar tweet at his college’s top recruiting targets? I’d have Adrian Peterson hit up every kid that Texas wants, I’d have Cam Newton tweet at every kid Auburn wants, and Tom Brady tweet at every kid that Michigan wants. Just a few words of encouragement and “nothing related to recruited.” Yeah right, Bowers (wink, wink). This is most definitely an NCAA secondary violation, and I’m surprised Clemson did not report it as such.


why would adrian peterson recruit for texas? he went to oklahoma

something that's ok is news?

September 8th, 2012
12:35 pm

But david pollack attending a recruits ceremony on signing day was a secondary violation?
It’s crazy what can or cannot be texted, tweeted, etc.
could easily live without all this garbage.

something that's ok is news?

September 8th, 2012
12:37 pm

next headline—former player tweets recruit while on toilet. NCAA says no violation

Old Boy

September 8th, 2012
2:26 pm

He said hi to a young player. He didn’t say a thing about Clemson or RK’s decision. I don’t see an issue.


September 9th, 2012
7:21 am

Kid has the most feeling of entitlement of any kid I can remember. Basically demanding his friends get an offer before and after he commits. Kid is playing CU like a fine instrument, and will end up ruining their recruiting class when he switches to OM, AFTER Clemson accepts all his friends LOIs.


September 9th, 2012
7:44 am

Hey big crimson, there is only one rock for all those backs! Whatever happened to blake sims?

Hey, Northern Dawg...

September 9th, 2012
10:44 am

…..since Adrian Peterson went to OKLAHOMA I sure hope he tweets every recruit that TEXAS has…


September 10th, 2012
9:34 am

It is against the rules for a grown man with experience in the world to pass on good advice to a young man who has yet to really live life.

Per NCAA Bylaw 01.01.01, “Always direct the servants toward a state of ignorance and dependency in attitude and behavior. The coaching staff and administrators should be directing the very thought process of these athletes (not professors and peers that make up the college experience). This will lead to a consistent daily routine of nutrition, fitness, practice, and just enough class time to keep these players eligible and productive towards the goals of the NCAA (i.e. financial gain).”


September 10th, 2012
10:31 am

RN’s commitment to Clemson is strictly a business decision. Easiest path to the top of the NFL Draft is to play in a BCS auto-qualifier league with the weakest OL play. When it is all said and done, RN will likely have much better stats than Julius Peppers if he lives up to the hype. If the NFL is the real goal, RN made a great decision.

Why go to Alabama, LSU, or UGA and have to face SEC talent where you’ll just look like a pretty good player on a great team when you can face ACC talent and look like a stud (team doesn’t even matter)? Why go to Virginia Tech, Miami, or FSU (along with the SEC schools) where you’ll have to compete against other pretty good DL talent to get early playing time?

To be fair, this is similar to Stafford’s decision to attend UGA with slightly different factors due to the QB position. In Stafford’s case he knew UGA teaches a pro style offense and that he had a clear shot to start early. He also knew he’d have pretty good skill position talent around him to catch those passes. Putting up big numbers against SEC defenses (even if the team loses) equals #1 NFL draft pick as a QB. Worked like a charm.

If my son had the same opportunity to pick a college as a gateway to the NFL as Nkemdiche or Stafford I wouldn’t blame him either for making a prudent decision for his future with that much money on the line.

I am curious about RN’s mama though. Is she down on Clemson because it’s Clemson or because of some personalities on the staff? If it’s the former she needs to get over it. If it’s the latter then she’s justified because a kid should be in an environment acceptable to family standards as far as personalities go. I don’t know anything about Dabo and his staff to have an opinion on that matter.

Just calling it like I see it…

Clemson is almost as dirty as Auburn

September 10th, 2012
11:14 am

@something that’s ok is news?
“But david pollack attending a recruits ceremony on signing day was a secondary violation?”

Pollack is on ESPN football broadcasts. What part of “broadcast media” do you not understand. Clown.


September 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

Thanks for the Nkemdiche article. I was having withdrawals…

Haters Gonna Hate!

September 10th, 2012
12:30 pm

Why all the hate for Clemson? there are plenty of good players to go around, what does it matter if Nkemdiche goes to Clemson or not. Too much jealous people with too much time on their hands. The kid is in high school and getting blasted for nothing! Clemson is not even close to the underhanded stuff that goes on in the SEC, ya”ll are funny!

The Don

September 10th, 2012
2:13 pm

Northern Dog. Adrian Peterson did not play at Texas he played at Oklahoma making your point invalid.

Will Nill

September 10th, 2012
8:07 pm

Is Sammy Watkings still suspended for smoking dope and taking 2 different illegal performance enhancing types of pills and then driving up onto the curb or is he playing now?

sec fan

September 10th, 2012
8:34 pm

Wonder why there has been little to no media coverage of the Auburn QB father getting beat up by an Auburn fan?


September 10th, 2012
8:46 pm

Is Sammy Watkings still suspended……Nope. He’s back. Most SEC schools wouldn’t have even noticed. Just standard operating procedure.


September 11th, 2012
9:07 am

I’m so sick of hearing about this screwball. He’ll never life up to all the hipe. Only school dumb enough to offer half his team a scolly is ole miss.


September 11th, 2012
11:03 am

MC…C’MON Man…this has been running for (6) days now…shouldn’t you be able to come up with new material quicker….if we had to equate this to a 40 time….you would be running a 7.0 flat 40!!!


September 11th, 2012
12:06 pm

Michael how long are you going to harass this kid? Does the term journalistic integrity not mean a damn thing to you?


September 11th, 2012
12:21 pm

Why is this under UGA Recruiting news???


September 11th, 2012
5:47 pm

KKKlempsin cheat? They helped create the death penalty. What a legacy. And Datboy, he is such a good cheerleader. LMBO.


September 11th, 2012
6:32 pm

Hmmm….I loved when a “certain coaches wife” was writing THANK YOU NOTES to the prospects that visited. She just wanted to make sure they enjoyed their stay. NADA happened. But ya know, I say go at it guys. Tweet, email, whatever, the outcome is still THE SAME. GO TIGERS


September 11th, 2012
10:19 pm


What are you talking about? I believe Georgia’s disciplinary methods are well documented as being the toughest in the nation, and kids don’t dare cross Nick Saban and you therefor you rarely hear of Alabama players getting in trouble. So what are you talking about I’ll ask again?


September 11th, 2012
10:33 pm

Hello Mr Contractor….Couldn’t find where you had asked before????? So I’ll just copy and paste my thought written by another writer. Live on in your sheltered little world.

“Now compare that rap sheet to the SEC, where the stereotype of lawlessness has been popular for a long time. There are two schools currently on probation: Tennessee for the Bruce Pearl barbecue fiasco and South Carolina for its cushy hotel housing arrangement for football players, plus some booster shenanigans involving football and basketball. (LSU came off a one-year football probation last week.)

Total years probation: five. Postseason bans: zero. Scholarship reductions: zero. The SEC dodged a mighty big bullet when Cam Newton scrambled through a loophole in 2010 to remain eligible, but right now there is no question which is the cleaner league in the eyes of the NCAA.”


September 12th, 2012
12:10 am


The Cam Newton argument is only hear say and you can’t prove it do using it towards your argument doesn’t work. As far as Tennessee goes there were sanctions brought about because there was no actions requiring them. Let’s not dare get into the ACC and the admitted cheaters at Chapel Hill. You’re a Clemson Tiger fan, the fan add that believes they are simply just better than everyone else and that roots for a team that is known for their landslides at the end of the year. I hope y’all do get Robert, because it’ll go to show Clemson can’t even be a winner with a slew of five star recruits. Best of luck this weekend as you’ll get your pot head All American receiver back.


September 12th, 2012
10:34 am

All-American defensive TACKLE? Come on AJC, I know you guys are slack, but you’ve got to at least get Bowers’ position right.


September 12th, 2012
2:00 pm

Nkemdiche is a train wreck just waiting to happen.

[...] Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Bowers did not cause Clemson to commit an NCA…. [...]


September 13th, 2012
10:09 pm

Broken record. Even RN had to go to twitter
Himself to tell you guys to STFU. Seriously? Listen if he doesnt go to Clemson he sure as heck isn’t going to UGA. Y’all are pathetic.