College Football Recruiting: For the Love of God, Stop Harassing Recruits

Adam Jacobi@Adam_JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterJune 6, 2012

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Recruiting is a legitimate source of news, drama and intrigue, and it's an integral part of the college football landscape as a whole. It also necessarily involves high school students. They, legally, are children.

Most of those children have families, and most of those families aren't celebrities and don't want to be. Fame is weird altogether, and it's an inconvenience at best when you're not even allowed to get paid for it.

All of which is to say, whoever was coming to the hotel room door of Upland, CA defensive end prospect Joe Mathis during his trip to Nebraska ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Mathis told ($) that he was forced to switch hotel rooms because of the repeated knocking on his door from Nebraska fans encouraging him to become a Husker. Here's more from's Matt Hinton

Bad news, Joe: To a relatively small but fervent subset of people, you are a celebrity. On a trip to Michigan, Mathis says, he foolishly tweeted his dinner plans at the local Buffalo Wild Wings, and was greeted by a parade of Wolverine fans. "I was treating them all with respect saying, 'How are you doing sir? How are you doing ma'am?' and they were like, 'You don't have to say that. We love you out here.'" Can't you see that they love you, Joe?

There is a word for this: harassment. Just because Mathis had the grace and goodwill to react politely to it doesn't mean it isn't harassment. It's harassment because it's unwanted and unsolicited contact, and people who respect other people's privacy and consent don't do that.

Consent is a word you more often hear in other situations, but it applies to all interaction, regardless of what your intent is. And if everybody respected it, we wouldn't be having this problem with recruits getting harassed. In fact, we'd have a lot fewer problems. But here we are.

Let's also cut out the notions that this is an isolated incident and that no harm was done. Mathis is far from the only recruit to deal with harassment, and it's usually worse. Do we need to go back over the way Columbus-area Ohio State fans treated Logan Tuley-Tillman again? That's harassment too; it's just more explicitly negative.

Further, unless the unnamed Nebraska fans all somehow came by Mathis' hotel room number accidentally and independently (and that would be ridiculous), there was some level of collaboration on this idea. And just reading about it and not telling those involved that their idea is terrible and creepy is tantamount to enabling it. Bad acts thrive on the silence of others.

So let's dispense with the silence.

Do not do this. Do not facilitate it. Do not condone it. Do not tolerate it. Do not let anybody else do it. It is not the way adults should treat each other, and it is absolutely not the way adults should treat children. Respect their agency. If they want to talk to you, they'll let you know. They probably don't want to talk to you. Deal with it.