Violations Roundup: Social Media Missteps Bite MSU

Part of my job includes periodically checking on Mississippi State’s compliance with NCAA rules, and I recently received documents regarding infractions committed by the athletic department since February. Here’s my story from today’s Journal.

They are all secondary violations, but what made this batch interesting was that two involved social media. That’s apropos in light of the story we had a few days ago examining how MSU and Ole Miss monitor social media activity among athletes.

The case involving assistant football coach Angelo Mirando illustrates just how difficult it can be to remain in compliance at all times. The NCAA manual is a 444-page beast of which coaches and athletic administrators are supposed to have extensive knowledge. For a young guy like Mirando (25 years old) who’s in his first full-time coaching gig, some of the lessons will be learned the hard way.

With social media so pervasive, everyone must be on their toes. Another violation noted in the story involved a Facebook page for MSU’s basketball student support group. Somebody posted on the page that a football prospect was coming to a basketball home game as part of an unofficial visit. After speaking with the author of the post, MSU compliance discovered that an MSU football player had provided the information about the visit.

Regardless of who provided the info, publicizing the prospect’s visit was an infraction. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person who posted the info had no idea about that rule.

It’s another reminder to be sure about what you’re saying before clicking the send button.

• Not included in today’s story was a violation committed by the women’s basketball team. It was apparently an inadvertent infraction.

On March 24, the Lady Bulldogs were going through individual skill instruction inside Humphrey Coliseum – the same day that the Hump was hosting a middle school science fair in the concourse. While waiting for the fair to begin, some students, parents and teachers took seats and watched the basketball team, violating an NCAA bylaw prohibiting public viewing of offseason individual skill instruction.

MSU’s action was to send coach Sharon Fanning-Otis a letter of admonishment, and the SEC accepted that.