Are fans involved too much in recruiting?

Great article in the Washington Post today about the NCAA’s rules about fans being involved in college recruiting and how the line is being blurred. It has never been easier for the average fan to speak their opinions to the world and even obtaining media credentials isn’t that difficult (as I found out last March). The NCAA really comes down on coaches who so much as text a recruit one too many, but now you have to worry about fan sites and message board people directly contacting these guys. Even friending a recruit on Facebook or on another social media venue is against the rules if your a fan/alumni of the university. The article mentions a fansite run by a Georgetown fan (http://cuttingdownnets.wordpress.com/) who actively Facebook stalks potential recruits and “interviews” them, while making it obvious of his hopes they will sign with the Hoyas. I love Mason basketball and I get excited when I hear about potential recruits considering my alma mater but I’m not going to Facebook friend a 16, 17 year-old and try to persuade them to come to Fairfax. Not only is it against NCAA rules but I also don’t work for Mason and I don’t pretend to be a part of the athletic department or basketball program. These aggressive “superfans” give websites like mine a bad name because they don’t follow the rules. Isn’t there already enough corruption in college basketball recruiting?

The NCAA just doesn’t make sense to me

Recent Tweet from Coach L’s Twitter account:
Compliance meetings begin tmw for the new year. New NCAA rule allows us to provide players bagels but no cream cheese or butter. Love it!”

I just think it’s funny that the NCAA is so strict on recruiting rules and regulations and at the same time barely slap a school on the wrist when they break any of these rules. Yes I am talking about Calipari and Memphis, whose 2007-2008 season was just “vacated”. How is this considered punishment? At worst are they forced to take down banners and return some trophies, boo hoo. Calipari cheated to get Derrick Rose on his squad and the “punishment” he and his school received doesn’t in any way prevent him from doing the exact same thing again at Kentucky. Which by the way was also the case when he coached at UMass in 1996. What would have happened if this kind of thing occurred at a mid-major school? Remember when happened to Maryland back in 1990; not only did they also have to vacate wins but they were banned from postseason play for two years, had scholarships cut, and one year television ban. Wow. A lot changes in 19 years. I guess the NCAA doesn’t like it when a television-friendly cash cow team like Memphis isn’t playing in March.