About 100 high school football players took to social media the past few days to share their excitement about a scholarship offer from Florida Gulf Coast University.
Problem is, Florida Gulf Coast doesn't have an NCAA, or even NAIA, football program capable of extending "offers." What the school does have is a club football program, not affiliated with the athletic department.
According to USA Today, what FGCU club football head coach Kevin Van Duser was offering to those the program was contacting was simply a spot on their roster. Here's what Van Duser, who made it clear in his email that they were a club football program not part of the NCAA, shared that he sent out in a stock email to recruits.
"If you would like to post that you have been offered a spot on our roster you can certainly do that. However, please do not post anything false, such as you have been offered a full scholarship or any scholarship please. Or that you have a D1 offer, we are a club team, not D1. You are however, offered a spot on our roster.”
Some players understood that premise better than others, as a number of players quickly took to social media for the customary "blessed to receive an offer from..." post, creating some serious confusion.
Apparently, what happened was a volunteer with the club program had extended "offers" to these kids 100 or so kids without knowledge of FGCU. Van Duser told USA Today that he was meeting with FGCU officials today to discuss the situation and how it got out of hand.
FGCU had to release the following statement that read in part:
"Unfortunately, we have been notified that a non-employee, volunteer with the football sport club has extended 'offers' to come FGCU and play football to more than 100 individuals across the country. This has been done without FGCU’s knowledge or sanction, and has caused a great deal of confusion to not only the individuals receiving the “offers” but to others reading accounts on social media.
"These 100-plus individuals may not realize the 'offer' has nothing to do with our NCAA intercollegiate athletics program, or with the normal access that prospective students use to apply and gain admission to the University. Any offers to participate in any of FGCU’s Division I Athletics’ sports teams are made through official recruitment in accordance with NCAA rules and regulations."
Over the years, as the social media obsession with sharing interest from college football programs have reached a fever pitch, programs - most notably those at the Division III and FCS non-scholarship level who can't offer athletic scholarships - have had to get creative in capturing the attention of high school kids driven by the "clout" that scholarships and attention from college programs drives on their social media pages. This is a great example of how one person trying to do too much in an effort to try and to "scratch that itch" can take a wrong turn.