Kentucky says fans' web postings are NCAA violationPosted 7/19/2006 9:29 PM ETE-mail | Save | Print |
swapContent('firstHeader','applyHeader');By C. Ray Hall, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
In a new twist on an old story, some University of Kentucky basketball fans have crossed over the line in their zeal to pack the team's roster with blue-chip prospects.
This time, the line is in cyberspace. But it's clear enough that Kentucky plans to report itself to the NCAA for a secondary rules violation, school spokesman Scott Stricklin said Wednesday.
"This is a situation of the fans wanting to help and not understanding (the rules)," Stricklin said.
Some fans posted pro-Kentucky messages on the MySpace.com website of Patrick "Beans" Patterson, a 6-foot-8, 217-pound senior at Huntington (W.Va.) High School.
Some of the postings reportedly were sexually enticing. One featured a photo of the Kentucky dance team; another showed super fan Ashley Judd.
Accompanying text implied that a sexual wonderland awaits a top Kentucky basketball player.
In his MySpace profile, Patterson describes himself this way: "I keep it real and treat everybody wit respect. I ball and work out basicly every day. ... Don't trust many people cept my boyz and some gurlz. I love the females. ...
"I live in a place Htown," said Patterson, who was West Virginia's Player of the Year last season. "I can't wait till I leave this place and go to college."
His top college choices, according to the site: Wake Forest, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgia and Virginia Tech.
The fan postings on the site Wednesday were far less incendiary than some appearing earlier.
"I think some of the people went back and took some of their stuff down," said Stricklin, who noted he hadn't seen any of the entries. Kentucky's compliance office is keeping an eye on the site, he said.
How many postings appeared to be recruiting pitches for UK?
"It'd probably be somewhere between 20 and 25," he said.
One Wednesday said: "I can't turn around in Lexington without hearing about Patrick Patterson anymore. Your (sic) have now entered superstar status."
Yet another pretended to be from Rajon Rondo, who left UK for the pros this spring: "If I had the choice to either play for Louisville or not play at all, I wouldn't play at all."
Stricklin noted that any recruiting postings — even tasteful ones — are inappropriate in the NCAA's view.
"I think it's the kind of thing where if it continued unabated, a school could get in some serious jeopardy because it would be the same as a booster walking up and having continual conversations or phone contacts with a recruit," he said. "The NCAA is pretty strict: There's four people who are allowed to have contact with a recruit, and those are the coaches on the basketball staff." Although the Web postings amount to minor violations, they can't be ignored, he said. "The NCAA gets nervous if you're not turning in secondary violations, because that means you're not paying attention," Stricklin said.
Why so many pro-Kentucky postings on the site?
"The number of people who are interested in our basketball program is probably larger than a lot of college programs," Stricklin said. "And they're not casually interested. They're passionately interested."
University of Louisville sports publicist Kenny Klein said Wednesday he was unaware of any postings by Louisville fans on Patterson's site.
Many athletes have websites, he noted, and that can present a host of problems in the Internet age.
"We do try to remind our student-athletes that information is out there in the public and that everyone can see (it) and just to exercise good judgment," he said.