As if the world has not been inundated with enough alternative facts and fourth-hand stories for one week, the Miami Hurricanes are reportedly using a completely fabricated alleged violation to actively negatively recruit against the Florida Gators leading into 2017 National Signing Day.
Still with me? Let’s unpack this.
1. Days ago, a message board poster alleged that there was video evidence two Florida assistants offered cash to a recruit who attends Homestead High School and that it was turned into the NCAA.
2. The post immediately caught fire on recruiting message boards (as many baseless posts and rumors have for years) and moved over to social media outlets, predominately on Twitter where things can spread quickly.
3. Florida smartly paid this no mind, knowing that this has no basis in reality and giving it public credence would only inflame the story. Furthermore, it’s not like UF can publicly address recruiting in such a manner.
4. This is where it gets ridiculous. According to SEC Country, current Florida commitments “were contacted by Miami staff members, who asked the recruits if they would reconsider the Hurricanes” under the circumstances of the fabricated violations.
5. It is at this point that the Gators obviously decided to do something in response, reportedly assuring their commitments and likely any outstanding recruits that this claim has absolutely no basis in reality and reaching out to a media outlet to share that sentiment.
So how can one be so sure that this is likely false?
1. Florida is not actively recruiting a player at Homestead this cycle and has not for years. The school was likely used as the target of this fabrication after its coach sent out a tweet recently noting that one of UF’s recruiters — but not the program as a whole — was not welcome around his team for an undisclosed reason.
2. No school that actually pays for players would ever be brazen enough to do so to that degree or be so careless as to allow it to be filmed.
3. No school that pays players would have a class ranked 31st in the nation with just days to go until National Signing Day. OK, that’s obviously a joke, trying to lighten the mood here.
4. While things likely go on at most schools in some form or another, whether cash-related or otherwise, Florida’s compliance department is one of the best in the nation and has been that way since scandal hit the program decades ago. It would take a rogue coach for this to be true, but again, it’s not.
5. Oh yeah, before this story could even be published, the message board poster has admitted that it was all a ruse.
And this brings us back to the crux of the story. It’s not that a false rumor was started on a message board or that a school was accused of a fabricated violation. Those things happen every day.
The story here is that Miami, a program that actually did pay recruits and players years ago and appears to have beaten Florida for two key prospects at the end of this cycle, reportedly has its coaches actively attempting to negatively recruit the Gators with information of which it knew was false. That, in a word, is pathetic.