As Ben linked to in this morning’s While We’re Waiting, a recent revelation has caused a disturbance at Ohio State, which was a contributing factor in a recruit decommitting from the 2013 Buckeye class. First off, this young man- currently a Junior in High School- has every right to pick Ohio State or any other school. This is not about him. Nor is it about his family that made some comments that has some members of the “Ohio State community” upset and defensive on twitter and I’m guessing message boards.
In the last week, it came to the attention of the OSU compliance department that an individual has been posting pictures of himself with several Ohio State athletes on his twitter account. He has been very active in trying to communicate with OSU athletes and prospective student athletes through twitter. That doesn’t sound like anything new to those that have much experience with the social media site, where fans routinely try to get a favorite athlete or celebrity to respond to a message they tweet.
The difference in this case, is that the man in question is a registered sex offender in another state.
A warning email was sent to Ohio State’s athletes from the athletic office, and the individual’s twitter account has been shut down.
To call it a delicate situation would be an understatement. The young man who decommitted was one of the prospects that was photographed with this individual. The picture was taken at OSU’s spring game, where several recruits were on hand. As a parent, I can understand being upset that your son/daughter was supposed to be under the care of the university and this occurs. Yes, I also understand that there really is no way that the school can monitor every single person that the recruit comes in contact with on a visit.
Granted this is an extreme case.
I’ll be honest though, I’ve long considered the practice of individuals not connected to the team or University contacting recruits kind of disturbing to begin with. I am a big fan of Ohio State football. Do I hope that OSU gets the best recruiting classes? Absolutely. There should be a line somewhere though, between being happy an athlete picks your alma mater or favorite school, and sending them messages asking them to do so.
I can’t believe, or maybe don’t want to believe that any athlete selects where they will go to school based on how many tweets or facebook replies they get. There is just too much at stake for that to be the case. I’d like to think that they are picking the University that offers the best program in the field they are wanting to study, but I know that isn’t realistic either. They pick the school based on how comfortable they feel with the coaching staff, the proximity to home, the bond they establish with other athletes on these official visits, and whether they think they have a chance to play and win at a given school.
That doesn’t stop Joe Fan from tweeting away. Or from getting into twitter arguments with fans from other schools about which one is better for the athlete involved.
Why write about this at all? I freely admit that nothing I can say here is going to stop that cycle. Perhaps it is just an acknowledgement that there is a story out there regarding one of the teams we routinely cover. One that when I heard about it made me angry enough to dwell on it for far to long. Maybe it’s to applaud the compliance department for getting it right this time around. I’m sure someone will say it’s self-righteousness. That’s fine.
The only way that an issue ever gets dealt with is if people bring it out to the open.