The Impact of Social Media on the NCAA

Ronnie Ramos,  NCAA
The emergence of social media has provided advantages for numerous organizations, but this cannot allow them to overlook the grey areas that it has created. Meaghan Edelstein, guest reporter for Mashable, recently sat down with NCAA's managing director of communications, Ronnie Ramos, to discuss the concerns social media has raised within his organization. Ramos explains the limitations the NCAA has with regulating it, not only the players and coaches, but also the fans and boosters for each team.

Ramos begins by explaining that the NCAA, unlike the NBA and NFL, cannot create rules for every school to follow. Instead, the NCAA can only enforce the rules that each school has put into place. Since his organization does not create the rules, schools are able to determine the extent their students can utilize social media, if at all. Ramos mentioned that the University of Miami prohibits their players from using Twitter, while other schools have no such rule.

The NCAA's main concern about social media is the influence it can have on recruiting. They have very detailed, and often confusing, rules regarding the recruitment of athletes. The official NCAA website briefly outlines the scope of these extensive rules as, "...closely govern[ing] factors such as when (and how many) official visits can occur, which personnel can recruit off-campus, and how (and when) coaches may communicate with potential recruits. " Ramos explained that the NCAA is concerned with the use of social media as a tool for recruitment because it can create unfair advantages for some coaches and schools. He continued saying that the NCAA's goal of regulating social media is to continue the current level playing field that their existing rules enforce. 

The emergence of social media has created a grey area in the current NCAA rules because they were not written with social media in mind. Ramos acknowledged this current shortcoming and mentioned that they intend to make changes to extend to social media. However, when the rules are expanded, the NCAA still does not have a consistent and efficient method to ensure violations are not occurring. Ramos admitted that the NCAA does not have the ability to monitor each and every school, but they rely on other coaches, schools, and fans to keep them honest. He explains that it is difficult to hide what one does via the social media, so they will eventually discover any violations. 

Understandably the NCAA does not have the ability to keep up with emerging technology, but I do not know what effect, if any, extending their rules to cover social media will have. Social media has created many more opportunities for coaches and players to contact possible recruits. Coaches and players no longer have the hassle of tracking down a recruit's phone number or address, but now they can simply search for them on any popular social media site because, more than likely, they will find the recruit. Some coaches and players can have great influence over the recruits because of their notoriety. This is merely my exploration into the worst-case-scenerio regarding recruitment, but that does not mean it may not have a positive impact. Social media could level the playing field for smaller schools to gain recruits' attention, who would have otherwise been ignorant of the school's existence. Although the smaller school's contact with the recruit may be a violation of the rules, should there be an exception for them to allow for the opportunity to "level the playing field"? Would the future NCAA rules only penalize the smaller schools, who would not otherwise be recognized, without the aid of social media contact? The role of social media has only been recently recognized by the NCAA, and I have only scratched the surface on one of many debates to come as the NCAA ventures into unknown territory.

Edelstein, M. (2011, January 9). How the ncaa stays on top of the social media game. Retrieved from

Football recruiting. (2010). Retrieved from

"NCAARonnieRamos" [Photograph]. Retrieved from

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