Rivals, Scout now illegal for recruiting, says NCAA

The websites have for years provided video and analysis behind a paywall.

Nicolas Hallett

Years ago, college basketball coaches and boosters were known to pay âÄúhandlersâÄù and AAU coaches thousands of dollars for names, reports and rankings on potential recruits.

The NCAA banned these dealings, then broadened the rule to include all sports in an effort to quell the growth of non-scholastic sports. On Saturday, Bylaw 13 grew again.

Jon Infante, author of NCAA.orgâÄôs Bylaw Blog, reported that institutions can no longer subscribe to online recruiting services such as Rivals.com.

The reasoning goes, Rivals provides video of non-scholastic competition that is not available to the general public (it is accessed behind a paywall), which is prohibited by the NCAA.

Rivals, however, as well as competitors like Scout.com, have existed for years in their current form, so the timing of this interpretation is curious.

âÄúI donâÄôt know what [the NCAA] is trying to do,âÄù said Zach Johnson, a writer for Gopherillustrated.com, MinnesotaâÄôs Rivals affiliate. âÄúRivals has been in business for several years, and for them just now to realize what Rivals does, itâÄôs pretty funny.âÄù

The NCAA even went so far as to request that âÄúevery single school âĦ report a secondary violation âÄòif they were or ever have been subscribedâÄô to Rivals,âÄù CBSâÄôs Bryan Fischer reported. In the intercollegiate athletic world, a secondary violation essentially amounts to a slap on the wrist and rarely results in suspensions.

RivalsâÄô parent company Yahoo! released a statement shortly after the decision, saying âÄúWe are in discussions with the NCAA in regards to this issue. This, in no way, affects Rivals.comâÄôs ability to provide content to our subscribers nor the general public.âÄù

Even a man seemingly affected by the increased regulation, Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, was unmoved.

âÄúItâÄôs not going to affect me, IâÄôm going to recruit the way I always have,âÄù Kill said Tuesday after practice. âÄúIâÄôve been working long before this stuff was invented. If something is legal and can benefit us, weâÄôll use it.âÄù

Illegality and enforcement, though, are two different things. With access to recruiting sites readily available to anyone with an Internet connection, tracking these violations seems a borderline impossibility for the NCAA and its governing body.

Said Johnson, âÄúWhatâÄôs to prevent KillâÄôs wife from joining Rivals.com?âÄù