What's Buzzing:

Prep Rally

Rogue Georgia fan imperils team’s recuitment of player by reaching out himself

Prep Rally

The murky moral high ground in college football recruiting may have become even less defined over the past week following a major scandal in which a Georgia fan reached out to call a recruit and ask him about his commitment status with the Bulldogs.

As covered in detail by Rivals.com Georgia affiliate site UGASports.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, College of the Sequoias (Calif.) defensive back Steven Nelson was directly contacted by a self-professed Georgia fan on the telephone after reports circulated that he had switched his college commitment from Georgia to Texas Tech. Nelson insists he never backed off his commitment to the Bulldogs, but a California newspaper reported the alleged commitment switch, despite Nelson's staunch insistence that no such switch ever occurred after the report was published.

According to the Journal-Constitution, Nelson said that he and the fan spoke for between 5-10 minutes before the call ended, the interrogator apparently content with the knowledge that Nelson was still planning on enrolling in Athens in fall 2013.

"I get phone calls almost every day from college recruiters and reporters," Nelson told the Journal-Constitution. "He called me up, and I forgot what his name was. The way he was talking, I thought he was a reporter, so I stayed on the phone. He was just trying to convince me to stay with Georgia, told me how good of a player I was, and wished me a good year.

[Related: Rivals.com rankings: Top 100 prep football players]

"I didn't think nothing of it until somebody called me, an ESPN guy, who told me the guy put it on Twitter that he talked to me on the phone."

UGASports.com became caught up in the scandal when the caller in question began to boast about reaching out to recruits on the site's popular message board, DawgVent. The site immediately acted to rid the perpetrator from the community, first deleting the message thread and then banning him from further posts after the alleged caller sent threatening emails to the UGASports staff.

"One of my guys contacted me and said there was somebody on DawgVent saying they had been calling prospects of UGA," UGASports.com publisher Steve Patterson told the Journal-Constitution. "As we all know, that's against NCAA bylaws, which are very encompassing when it comes to things like that … The site staff removed the post. Then after that, the guy went on and on about how [he] could do that if he wanted, and [to heck with] the NCAA. Then the guy sent some harassing emails to our staff. They contacted me and asked what to do, and I said blacklist him and have him contact me. That's the last we all heard of it until he made some other posts around the Internet.

"Over the years, we've gone out of the way to be very educated as a staff at UGASports on the NCAA rules, and we've written extensively on the various bylaw changes. We've actually withheld doing things the way some other people in business, you could say, operate when it comes to dealing with coaches because of that, because we're a dot-com, and we're held to a little bit of suspicion in the first place. So we've always kept a very even keel when it comes to NCAA rules."

There's no question that UGASports immediately did the right thing in this case, both by banning the braggadocious caller and reporting him to Georgia officials. Still, the initial outreach, and the use of that call as a fan boy soapbox to try and enhance his own credibility within a virtual community, is truly disturbing for both college fan culture and the lack of guards against such behavior in the recruiting process. One of the key delineations between a "fan" and a "booster" by NCAA definition is assisting in recruiting a prospect over the telephone, via social media or in person. As soon as that happens, an NCAA rule has been violated, which puts Georgia and Nelson at risk, too.

In this case, neither the player nor the school had any idea what was going on with a rogue fan's outreach. Furthermore, Georgia itself acted quickly to investigate the matter after Patterson made the school's compliance office aware of the message board poster's claims.

For now, the issue appears to be resolved, with Georgia confident that no secondary violation occurred. Still, it paints a troubling picture for the future of recruiting in the ever-rabid world of college football during an era where public information is more available than ever before.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Fantasy advice from the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Minute:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
MLB Players Association leader Michael Weiner receiving treatment for brain tumor
A high-tech version of LeBron James' new signature shoes will cost $315
Arsenal defender Andre Santos reportedly led cops on 130 mph chase
ThePostGame: Who do pro sports owners back for president?

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Australia's Minjee Lee wins Blue Bay LPGA in China

      Australia's Minjee Lee wins Blue Bay LPGA in China

      Minjee Lee got up-and-down one last time at Jian Lake on Sunday to win the Blue Bay LPGA for her second victory of the year and third in two seasons. The 20-year-old Australian chipped to 3 feet from the front runoff area on the par-5 18th for her … More »

      AP - Sports - 3 minutes 56 seconds ago
    • Pinturault leads Hirscher after 1st run of WCup opening GS

      Alexis Pinturault of France and Marcel Hirscher of Austria continued their giant slalom dominance from last season as they finished 1-2 in the first run of the season-opening World Cup race on Sunday. Pinturault led the defending overall champion … More »

      AP - Sports - 3 minutes 56 seconds ago
    • Bangladesh stay alive in chase of 286 to win test

      Bangladesh stay alive in chase of 286 to win test

      (Reuters) - Bangladesh lost the top half of their batting order before tea as they chase 286 for victory against England on the fourth day of the closely-contested opening test at Chittagong on Sunday. With captain Mushfiqur Rahim (22) and Sabbir … More »

      Reuters - 46 minutes ago
    • Cubs fans dare to dream as Chicago's 'lovable losers' go to World Series

      By Nick Carey and Timothy Mclaughlin CHICAGO (Reuters) - Jubilant fans of the Chicago Cubs erupted in celebration on Saturday when the franchise clinched a berth in this year's World Series, pumped up by the dizzying prospect that their team could … More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 22 minutes ago
    • Sunderland match unwanted 110-year milestone

      Sunderland match unwanted 110-year milestone

      Sunderland became the first top-flight club in more than 100 years to fail to register a win in any of their first nine league games in two successive seasons when they suffered a 1-0 defeat by West Ham United on Saturday. Winston Reid's goal deep … More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 29 minutes ago