Brace yourself, folks. It looks like it’s that kind of day.
If nothing else, the “incident” involving Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert serves as a reminder that the NCAA rule book is so thick that mistakes are not just likely, they’re almost guaranteed.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Eifert posted a message on his Twitter account about Irish recruit, Jaylon Smith. Smith, a linebacker from Bishop Luers High School (Ind.), was scheduled to visit South Bend this weekend.
“Big recruiting day tomorrow here at ND,” Eifert said. “Looking forward to meeting and hangin with 5 star Fort Wayne native @JaeeSmiff9ENT”
That tweet has since been deleted as it violates NCAA rules of addressing a recruit directly before they sign a letter of intent. Notre Dame has also offered this statement:
“We’re aware of the tweet and it has been forwarded to our compliance office where they will process it appropriately. We take any potential violation of NCAA rules very seriously and we will never compromise on matters of NCAA compliance. Ultimately, this will serve as an excellent teaching moment for all of our teams and student-athletes.”
Not a big deal, and with social media being what it is, Eifert’s tweet is merely the backdrop for how the NCAA will be approaching primary and secondary violations. Last month, Oklahoma assistant coach Jay Norvell actually offered wide receiver recruit Rashaad Samples a scholarship via Twitter, also a direct violation of NCAA rules.
Those NCAA no-no’s, considered secondary in nature, rarely, if every, result in any punishment now and that will continue to be the case going forward. In January, the NCAA laid out a working draft of a new penalty matrix that hopes to paint a clearer picture for what constitutes major violations and what sanctions would accompany them. There’s been a lot of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling over the past year or so over the inconsistencies of the NCAA’s efforts — Rich Rodriguez called the Association “a little misguided” last year — but give credit where credit’s due.
The NCAA gets a lot of grief, much of it justified, but college athletic’s version of Big Brother is at least working toward a makeover. Included in that transformation is how it deals with social media blunders, which already are impossible to stop.