This past weekend, three players visiting Mississippi State posted messages on their Facebook pages referencing the Pony, which, for those not familiar with the Golden Triangle (comprising the Mississippi metropolises of Starkville, West Point and Columbus), is a, ahem, gentlemen's club.
One recruit told the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger on Tuesday that the posts were a joke and that they didn't go to the club, but now Mississippi State is investigating whether the recruits' hosts -- current Bulldogs players -- took them. (Hint: Check with the football recruiting office to find out if any of the hosts asked for his recruit's $60 weekend entertainment stipend in $1 bills.) If that's the case, those players could be in big trouble. If anyone associated with the football staff ordered the trip, Mississippi State would have a problem with the NCAA...
Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson and Jay Hughes probably don't know the history of the NCAA's abhorrence to the confluence of G-strings and official visits, but they should have some idea that even the insinuation that they were taken to one on an official visit would raise eyebrows. So why post it for the world to see? The players removed the posts from their pages, but by then it was too late. By Monday, screen grabs of their Facebook pages were all over the Web...
What the recruits don't seem to realize is that the explosion of social networking sites has spawned an entirely new creature: the Recruitnik Cyberstalker. Unlike urchins such as myself who get paid to look for that stuff, these guys receive no compensation other than the joy of knowing they've made life miserable for a rival school.
In other words, players committed to Ohio State should understand that some Michigan fan is trolling the Web looking for their dirty laundry -- and vice versa. Players committed to Miami should know that Florida and Florida State fans with too much time on their hands will scour Facebook profiles and MySpace pages looking for incriminating evidence.
The cyberstalkers may not have lives, but that doesn't preclude them from discovering legitimate information.
Some of this stupidity will hopefully depart when maturity arrives. Still, did no one tell these guys to be on their best behavior? If someone did, do these guys not know what that means? Did anyone not explain how seriously the NCAA takes recruiting violations, and offer examples of what recruiting violations might be?
Makes you just shake your head and sigh.