The University of Iowa on Monday instructed its fans and boosters to stop tweeting at prospective student athletes. "Hawkeye fans and boosters, please do not tweet at Hawkeye recruits," the athletic department's compliance office posted on its Twitter account. "Leave the recruiting to Iowa coaches!"
It is against National Collegiate Athletic Association rules for athletic boosters to communicate with recruits over social media. Colleges also discourage fans from using social media to persuade prospective players to join a program, as the interaction can cause confusion or be seen as having received approval from an institution. In 2010, Indiana University fans who hoped to recruit high school basketball star Cody Zeller created a Facebook page that listed two team members as administrators. The university was forced to deny involvement in the campaign, saying the players were added as administrators without their permission. In recent years, several colleges -- including Florida Gulf Coast University, Tulane University and the University of Oklahoma -- have made similar pleas as Iowa's.
Responding to Iowa's tweet, one fan questioned why supporters shouldn't contact recruits, tweeting, "Fans are some of the best recruiters out there, especially when the coaches can't, due to the NCAA." The fan has tweeted at several players in the last month, trying to convince them to play for Iowa's football team. "You are a beast," he tweeted at a recruit in July. "You would look so good in an Iowa Hawkeye uniform leading the guys out of the tunnel!"