Every year we hear about fans crossing the line. Fans who tweet terrible things to the athletes at their own schools following big games. Fans who try to Facebook random 16-year-olds who might go to their school to play a sport. Fans who think that, despite schools and the NCAA pleading with them to leave players and recruits alone, they have some inherent right to interject themselves into the process.
What's worse are the fans who think they're doing some good—that if they badger a recruit with pro-their school propaganda, then that is going to help sway the young athlete. Well, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, some fans even take that to the next level.
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.
People, you have to stop. There are great fans out there for every team. Unfortunately, morons are quite abundant too and they make a lot more noise and cause a lot more problems than the majority of good, "just watch the games" fans. It is not just a Southern thing, as Ohio State recently had its own run-in with an overzealous fan who happened to have some serious issues of his own.
It isn't a regional problem, it's a widespread moron problem and a pervasive culture that allows fans to feel a true sense of entitlement when it comes to just how close they can get to their favorite program. No, the NCAA can't police the push to keep fans out of the recruiting process. No, the schools don't have the manpower to keep them out either.
It takes more of a push from the culture. "Oh well" cannot be the answer when situations like this come into play. "Well you can't stop them" should not be the answer when people cross the line. By ignoring it, you're norming it in the culture, and that's the culture that makes it so permissible and increasingly pervasive in sports. Say no when it comes up on your message boards. Opt out of Facebook-friending high-schoolers who commit to your school. Remind folks on Twitter that that's not their lane.
The sport is at its best when everyone is doing their job. For players that means playing. For coaches that means coaching and recruiting. For fans that means watching, rooting, booing, tailgating and the like. Just because a kid is on Twitter doesn't mean you have to follow him, and just because you follow doesn't mean you have to try and chat with him.
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