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OPINION: You’re not helping by harassing high school recruits on social media


Fans cheer after IU begins to catch up to Ohio State on March 14 during the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in Chicago. Ty Vinson

The chants of “we want Dawson” rang through the Bluebird on Saturday. Fans came out for the Hoosier Hysterics: Homecoming podcast event and expressed their desires for four-star recruit Dawson Garcia to commit to IU.  

Hearing the chants and seeing countless tweets directed at Garcia as his recruitment nears a close made me think this is a perfect time to bring up the harassment of recruits on social media.

Right off the bat, you're embarrassing yourself if you excessively engage, harass or attack high school recruits on social media.

There is nothing positive that can come from it.

It should be common sense that it's not OK to harass anyone online, especially high school students.

I fully understand the passion fans have for IU basketball, how important it is in the state and that the excitement of the fanbase is a big draw for many people — including recruits — but there is a line, and way too many people seem to not know where it is.

I don’t want to discourage people from showing support for their favorite teams and hoping that a big-time recruit ends up at their school. There is a way to do show your support respectfully and not overload the player’s mentions, but when you cross into borderline cyber-stalking territory, it’s safe to say you’ve gone too far and need to turn around.

A prime of example of this has been Hoosier Hysterics and its “serenade” of Garcia during the recruitment process.

Every opportunity it has had, Hoosier Hysterics used it to tweet at Garcia.

Cringeworthy countdown to Garcia’s official visit? Check. Using one of the host's kids to plea to Garcia to commit to IU? Sadly, yes. Tweet at him nearly everyday like Garcia is their best friend? Big time.

It’s hard to believe that Eric Pankowski and Ward Roberts — the two voices of the Hoosier Hysterics Podcast – think that their annoying tweets are actually helping, but I sadly think they do.

But it’s not just Hoosier Hysterics’ attempts to lure Garcia to IU that crossed that line.

Last season the same thing happened to five-star recruit Keion Brooks during his recruitment. Fans flooded his Twitter harassing him while he was deciding between IU and the University of Kentucky. So when Brooks made his final decision to take his talents to Lexington, Kentucky, let's just say IU’s fanbase wasn’t the most understanding.

As much as I hate fans flooding Twitter trying to convince recruits to sign with their team, it's even worse when they attack a high schooler, who might not even be 18-years-old, for his choice of where to go to school.

The kid made a decision that isn’t life-or-death and will have a minimal effect on your life, so how can you possibly rationalize attacking him? I’ll answer the question for you: You can’t.

So remember, no matter what happens Wednesday with Garcia’s commitment — and it looks like he will be heading to Marquette — it is never OK to harass a recruit because of a decision that can change his life and not yours.

If you need to say something, wish him well and move on. Just don’t be one of those schmucks who is cursing out a high schooler on Twitter because he didn’t choose your school.

Nobody likes that guy.

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