Recruiting battles are common in college football.
What’s not common, however, is recruiting players already on a college roster.
But that’s exactly what Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich claimed Oregon State did, back in May. He tweeted out four photos showing Oregon State sent mail to current Hawaii football players. The mailings were addressed to players at a University of Hawaii building. (The tweets have since been deleted.)
My apologies for our players not being able to attend your Spring game. Ours was the same day, bad timing. Quick question, in the 203 years of coaching, none of you realized you couldn’t actively recruit another school’s players? Sent to campus? #leakydam #sloppybeavers pic.twitter.com/2djcmgFbLH— Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich) May 4, 2018
“Accidentally”. Thank goodness, I feel so much better. https://t.co/lP72xgolAv— Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich) May 4, 2018
This, of course, isn’t allowed. If it’d been intentional, it’d been tampering under NCAA bylaws.
NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 precludes athletics staff members of member institutions from contacting student-athletes at other four-year institutions without first obtaining written permission from the director of athletics at the institution where the student-athlete is enrolled. Without that permission, institutional staff members are not allowed to encourage the student-athlete to transfer. During the time period that the violations occurred, NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206 prohibited institutional staff members from sending text messages to prospective student-athletes.
But the NCAA seems to agree with OSU that it was inadvertent, hitting the Beavers with a secondary violation — essentially, a minor one — that will prevent them from recruiting the player to whom the package was addressed.
In his tweet, Rolovich tagged the NCAA, Oregon State compliance, Pac-12 compliance, a few media outlets, and, for some reason, Lavar Ball.
At the time, I wondered about Oregon State’s intent. There was a chance this was caused by a miscommunication. Perhaps there was someone new handling mailers, and confusing lists? In a statement from the school, an OSU spokesperson said:
“Oregon State Athletics and head coach Jonathan Smith became aware of unintentional mailings directed at a University of Hawai’i student-athlete this morning. We are committed to following NCAA rules and are looking into this matter fully.”
It’s all so dumb, it had to have been a mistake. There’s no way Oregon State would intentionally and brazenly send large envelopes with the Beavers logo on it to the University of Hawaii, as opposed to, say, a relative’s house of an off-campus apartment.