On the surface, the message might have looked like little more than a note of congratulations to an old friend.
The NCAA could have a completely different interpretation.
A Twitter update from Tennessee freshman tight end Justin Meredith posted last week about a scholarship offer from his new program to the old one at T.L. Hanna High School specifically mentioned the handle of former teammate Ben Boulware and appeared to encourage fans to contact him. But despite his preexisting relationship with the linebacker, the use of social media to deliver his message may have been the wrong platform and could prompt UT to report a secondary violation.
“Vol Nation Tennessee just offered my best friend @benboulware7, the best (linebacker) in the nation,” Meredith posted. “Let him know how much we want him!!!”
The message has since been removed from Meredith’s account.
Requests for comment from a school compliance official were denied. UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton did not specifically address the matter relating to Meredith on Wednesday and could not confirm whether or not it had been reported as a potential violation.
“Our compliance office investigates all matters relating to potential violations,” Stanton said.
The use of Twitter has caused several other major programs to report similar issues with current players mentioning recruits over the last couple weeks, including Michigan and Notre Dame.
NCAA rules prohibit social media messages to recruits through accounts affiliated with the institution or a page belonging to someone affiliated with the institution, and since enrolling in January to begin his career with the Vols, Meredith certainly falls in the latter category. And the scholarship offer publicized by Meredith clearly suggested that Boulware is a UT recruit.
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward