SBD/Issue 235/Collegiate Sports

Fans Creating College Sports Web Sites Blur Recruiting Rules

NCAA Officials Alarmed At Number Of Fans
Creating Web Sites, Obtaining Media Credentials
NCAA rules "explicitly state that fans of teams cannot be involved in recruiting, but those regulations blur when the fan wears a media credential," according to a sports-section cover story by Prisbell & Yanda of the WASHINGTON POST. NCAA officials and other "prominent figures on the summer basketball circuit are alarmed at an increasing number of fans who are creating Web sites, obtaining media credentials and becoming amateur recruiters." NCAA Dir of Agent, Gambling & Amateurism Activities Rachel Newman-Baker said that "one of the organization's biggest concerns this summer was who was obtaining media credentials and for what purpose." A "scan of Web sites in recent months illustrates how widespread independent sites with recruiting focuses are and how difficult it is for anyone to monitor or police them." With Web site addresses "easy and inexpensive to obtain, separating legitimate online journalists from fanatics with URLs can be difficult." Longtime national recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons said, "It really has gotten worse. ... There are multiple problems that need to be resolved, and I don't think anyone knows the exact solution to it. How do you legislate these people who claim they are media representatives?" Prisbell & Yanda note many of the "unofficial team Web sites that cover basketball and football" at Division I schools "fall under the umbrella" of either Rivals.com or Scout.com. Industry sources indicated that the "majority of Rivals and Scout sites operate above board," but "there are exceptions" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/25).

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