Did Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Just Test the NCAA Recruiting Rules?

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 22, 2014

Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban runs off the field after his team lost the Sugar Bowl, 45-31, to the Oklahoma Sooners at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA rule book routinely lays out a tightrope for college football coaches to walk. Nick Saban may have taken a misstep Wednesday while visiting St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif.

CBS Sports college football reporter Bruce Feldman shared an eye-catching tweet posted by top-ranked 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen.

Rosen eventually deleted the tweet, but Feldman ensured it was seen by the masses. We don't yet know any of the details about their interaction, but it is drawing attention from other coaches and may pique the interest of NCAA officials.

Rosen is teammates with a slew of premier prospects, including Damien Mama, who is listed as the top-ranked guard in 247Sports' composite rankings. He is a strong USC lean, but he did visit Alabama in November.  

While it remains unclear whether Nick Saban just happened to "bump into" Rosen on the school campus while visiting Mama or another senior prospect, there is a concern that Saban went off the straight-and-narrow path during his visit and perhaps approached rules-violation territory.

According to NCAA recruiting guidelines, off-campus visits are not permitted for recruits until the July 1 following their junior years of high school.

And California is a long way from Tuscaloosa.

Feldman followed his initial tweet with a message he apparently received from one of Saban's peers.

This era of college football is defined by a gray area that often results in NCAA infractions, even if there was no intent involved. Saban was obviously well aware of Rosen's presence at St. John Bosco, but did he actually seek him out for a personal discussion?

Rosen already holds offers from Stanford, USC, UCLA and Texas. He led Bosco to a state title in 2014.

Alabama has already seemingly landed its 2015 quarterback in Ricky Town, a fellow Californian from Ventura. The St. Bonaventure star pledged to the Crimson Tide in August 2013.

Rosen's tweet certainly doesn't signal a sure violation by Saban. The four-time national champion may have been in an office or classroom talking with Mama while his friends and teammates were present.

This frequently happens across the country. Prospects like to enjoy the experience, especially when a coach of Saban's profile stops by.

Saban stopped by St. Bonaventure High School (Ventura, Calif.) today. Junior running back Marcus Chambers, who does not currently hold any FBS offers according to 247Sports, noted that he "met" Saban.

Again, the assertion that Saban is specifically visiting these juniors is far from concrete. Kids are quick to share experiences on social networks, even if they're only sharing the room with Saban and a senior teammate.

On the other hand, if this was a predesigned "check in" on a player of Rosen's caliber orchestrated by Alabama, then it may raise a red flag in the eyes of NCAA officials.