Recruiting in this age of social networking is a slippery slope

Norvell is the only OU football coach active on Twitter, and his posts are usually innocuous — motivational or promotional in nature. He frequently posts photos of trophies, statues or portraits of All-Americans, or YouTube videos of past players. The most recent post on his active feed was nine days ago, when he informed followers his family had adopted a new pit bull puppy.

Norvell has posted 655 times (not counting the ones that were deleted) since he started tweeting on Oct. 1, 2009, but this wasn’t his first potential social network violation. On Sept. 10, 2010, he tweeted, “…saw the young WR Dorial Green-Beckham tonight in Springfield, Mo. He’s a talent. Jay Norvell-OU.”

Mentioning a recruit by name is against NCAA rules.

It’s a slippery slope on which coaches now tread. High school kids are all over Twitter these days, which means high school recruits are, which means recruiters need to gain whatever edge they can staying in contact with their targets. One wrong tap on a hand-held keyboard, and the world gets to see your latest NCAA violation.

Norvell is regarded as OU’s best recruiter — after landing the nation’s best class of wide receivers on National Signing Day, he was lauded by as the top recruiter in the Big 12 Conference.

Norvell is a dynamic personality who connects with young people on their level, but does so through traditional values and extols virtues like hard work, family, maturity and focus.

Again, these violations are minor. OU won’t be punished by the NCAA unless the university’s compliance department — which operates independent of the athletic department — uncovers a pattern of behavior.

Expect Norvell and the Sooners to back off their recruiting of those prospects. At worst, the Sooners would receive a penalty of reduced recruiting hours, possibly a censure for Norvell or a reduction in his recruiting duties.

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