The NCAA rulebook is thick, convoluted and routinely controversial. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin learned that lesson this summer, when he was whistled for a secondary NCAA infraction, according to myaggienation.com.
Loftin, who has served as university president since 2009, sent a seemingly harmless tweet to a prized football prospect who had just visited College Station. The result was an inadvertent violation, identified by the Texas A&M athletic department.
The message was directed at 2015 recruit Jordan Davis (Houston, Texas). The 6'4", 250-pound Clear Lake High School star is listed as the nation's No. 5 tight end prospect in 247Sports composite rankings.
Davis received a tweet from Loftin, who is known as an engaged social media user, that read: "Enjoyed meeting you yesterday during your visit to #TAMU." The tweet was available to see for the more than 25,000 people who follow Loftin on Twitter.
Davis visited Texas A&M on June 13 and committed to the team that day. He met Loftin during the campus visit, according to The Eagle.
Loftin's tweet, which was sent on June 14, was met with a response from Davis. The newest Aggie commit tweeted, "Yessir it was nice meeting you #gig'em."
And that was that.
Until you take the time to pull out that NCAA rulebook.
The Eagle reports that Loftin's tweet was in direct violation of NCAA bylaw 13.10.5.
This regards matters of publicizing a campus visit, stating that "a member institution shall not publicize (or arrange for publicity of) a prospective student-athlete's visit to the institution's campus..."
David Batson, Texas A&M's director of athletics compliance, told The Eagle that Loftin was simply unaware of the rule. The school self-reported itself to the SEC in July.
Batson explained the oversight to The Eagle.
It's just a technical, very minor violation. If this was something widespread or something over and over and over again then it may be a different story, but this is one occasion, and, given the circumstances, a very minor issue... When you have the abundance of rules we deal with, those mistakes will happen.
It remains unclear if the NCAA will pursue this issue any further.
Richard G. Johnson, a lawyer who has gone up against the NCAA in the past on behalf of student-athletes, told The Eagle he was stunned to hear of the violation.
"It's unique, shameful, surprising, stupid—pick any word you want to use, crazy," Johnson said. "How does that help your reputation with the NCAA if the guy who is really in charge of compliance, the university president, is violating their rules?"
In an unrelated matter, Loftin announced in July that he intends to formally resign from his post in January 2014. His motivation is to return to teaching and researching, reports the Dallas Morning News.