Just when you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to NCAA violations, something new comes along that amazes you. The case of Ohio State’s efforts to recruit five star defensive end Micah Parsons from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And it centers around ESPN’s traveling pregame show College GameDay.
Parsons made an official visit to OSU during the weekend of the Buckeyes’ home game with Oklahoma. Like any other major program hosting a Top 10 showdown in primetime, the Buckeyes probably hosted a number of top level recruits that weekend. And given the importance of the matchup, College GameDay was also in town. The problem came when the two came together.
Ohio State had to self-report a recruiting violation when Parsons was given access to the set to meet with the stars of College GameDay because it’s against NCAA bylaws to interact with members of the media during a visit. Furthermore, a production credential given to Parsons to visit the set is defined as an “extra benefit.” As a result, the Buckeyes had to halt their efforts in recruiting Parsons.
The news was reported by OSU student newspaper The Lantern:
While on a campus tour led by football recruiting assistant Ed Terwilliger, the recruit met Herbstreit on the show’s set, took a photo with two College GameDay analysts who are not former Ohio State players — believed to be Corso and Davis — while sitting on-stage, and met George off the set, according to the records. Though recruits on official visits are able to speak with former student-athletes of the school they are visiting, they are not allowed to “have contact with members of the media associated with former student-athletes.”
“As such, a violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.10.1 and 220.127.116.11 occurred, as members of the media may not be present during an institution’s recruiting contact with a prospect and a prospect may not participate in team activities that would make the public or media aware of the prospect’s visit to the institution,” Ohio State’s self-violation report said.
According to the records, Terwilliger allowed the recruit and his parents to enter College GameDay’s production area in front of the set, which is inaccessible to the public. The group was then given credentials by a producer of the show. The action is regarded as an improper benefit by the NCAA, and was self-reported by Ohio State.
Sure enough, Parsons was captured in multiple pictures posted on social media interacting with the College GameDay crew including Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. Another former OSU alum in Eddie George was the guest picker for the day.
From one Buckeye to hopefully another Buckeye. Enjoy the time down there g pic.twitter.com/YISInMXJ9g
— TC (@TCT2323) September 9, 2017
https://t.co/rWBWPbq51p @Micah_parsons23 was on @CollegeGameDay today??? I told y'all to "REMEMBER THE NAME"! Y'all thought I was joking? pic.twitter.com/8DWPXQ9uGp
— Big Star (@BigStarRawSport) September 9, 2017
This has to be a first where a television show led to a recruiting violation, right?
On one hand, the rule is a bit ridiculous. I mean seriously, a credential to go on set for 5 minutes to take a picture with Rece Davis is an extra benefit? We’re not talking about a car or a paper sack filled with $100 bills here. This is cream cheese on a bagel levels of NCAA rules absurdity. It also makes you wonder about anytime College GameDay and recruits are in the same stadium if they have to run away from each other if they ever make eye contact.
But yet, the rules are the rules. And if it is indeed a violation to take a recruit anywhere near the College GameDay set, and your sole job is to be in charge of recruiting visits, you should probably be aware of that and take every extra precaution when showing a blue chipper around campus.
Parsons is now heavily favored to attend Penn State when he ultimately makes his decision for which college to attend. As for Ohio State, they’ll likely survive with the #1 recruiting ranked class at the moment.