There’s a dark side to all the extra hype that comes when ESPN brings College GameDay to a campus as Ohio State just learned the hard way.
As reported by The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, the Buckeyes hosted Micah Parsons for the team’s early season game against Oklahoma. Unsurprisingly, ESPN’s traveling college football hype and analysis show College GameDay was also on campus, and Parsons took a mini-tour around the set, which constituted a minor recruiting violation on Ohio State’s part.
The Buckeyes have since self-reported the violation.
Here’s more from The Lantern:
While on a campus tour led by football recruiting assistant Ed Terwilliger, the recruit met (Kirk) Herbstreit on the show’s set, took a photo with two College GameDay analysts who are not former Ohio State players — believed to be (Lee) Corso and (Rece) Davis — while sitting on-stage, and met (Eddie) 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 22.214.171.124 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.
That’s a unique and unfortunate development from Ohio State, which still had hopes of drawing yet another top five-star from the Class of 2018. Parsons is now widely expected to commit to Penn State. Meanwhile, there was no possible opportunity for Ohio State to deny the claims, as Parsons was photographed meeting with the GameDay cast on set (as you can see above) and re-posted photos of himself (below) with Herbstreit, George, Corso and Davis.
Whether the consequences of the violation are fair or not is another issue. Ohio State didn’t choose to have GameDay come to their city, it just happened because Ohio State was one of the most compelling teams in the country, playing against another. If the NCAA is going to encourage power programs to schedule one another, it feels a bit rich to punish them significantly when they then have recruits notice the hullabaloo and inject themselves in the hype.
For now that’s still the rule, so recruits beware: College GameDay is there because of players like you from years past, but it’s not there for you.