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P.J. Fleck used a clever recruiting loophole, and the NCAA just closed it

Call it the Fleck Rule.

Fleck Minnesota Big Ten Network

New Minnesota head football coach P.J. Fleck is attempting to continue one of the things he did best at Western Michigan — recruit well. One of the ways to do that is hosting camps to both evaluate and recruit prospects. A few weeks ago, Fleck posted a video to his Twitter account showing some of his camps, which includes footage of some recruits that were on hand:

According to 247Sports, some schools reported recruiting violations to the NCAA regarding Fleck’s video, since it’s against NCAA rules to post video of prospective recruits.

But the way that Fleck posted this video made it completely and perfectly legal. He found a loophole, if you will:

Per a compliance source, the Golden Gophers have found a loophole in an NCAA Interpretation that allows for the video.

Fleck is using the video as an advertisement for Minnesota's camps, which is allowed per NCAA rules: "It is permissible to post a photograph or video of a prospective student-athlete taken during the normal course of camp of clinic activities within permissible camp or clinic information and advertisements," the interpretation reads.

You have to give credit to Fleck for successfully utilizing video, obviously a powerful recruiting tool, while staying within the rules of the NCAA.

But the NCAA just closed the loophole Fleck used.

Here’s the relevant text:

This isn’t the first time other programs haven’t been too fond of Fleck’s recruiting practices.

Last month, Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz questioned the validity of offers that Minnesota has given out.

Not to mention, Fleck and Minnesota already reported a recruiting violation of their own after Fleck reportedly recruited one of his former Western Michigan players.

In early March, the Detroit News reported that WMU officials had “concerns” that Fleck “had illegal contact with at least one of his former players.” The NCAA bans athletics staffers at any Division I program from contacting another school’s player without the permission of that player’s school. WMU didn’t provide that permission to Fleck.

Ironically enough, two days prior to the Detroit News report coming out, WMU announced its leading tackler, linebacker Robert Spillane, was transferring away from the program. That led to widespread dot-connecting: Fleck, some believed, had wooed away his former player.

Spillane later stated Fleck and the Gophers had “nothing to do” with his transfer. Minnesota ended up reporting a violation categorized as “minor.”

Fleck’s current 2018 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, is ranked 22nd in the country and sixth inside the Big Ten. It features 19 verbal commitments, all of them from three-star prospects.