This is developing, but via a series of Tweets from John Infante, owner of the NCAA’s Bylaw Blog (Tweets here, here and here), member institutions of the NCAA will no longer be able to subscribe to Rivals.com.
It is not yet clear whether similar recruiting services run by Scout.com and 247Sports.com are similarly restricted.
Almost every college athletics program in the country has a subscription to one or all three of these services, and subscribe to many other less prominent ones as well.
Recruiting services and the people associated with them have come under recent, intense scrutiny by the NCAA, and a number of schools have found themselves at the center of media investigative reports, including Auburn, Oregon, Texas A&M, LSU and others.
This is a developing story and I’ll have more as information is obtained.
UPDATE: John goes on to explain:
The reason is that Rivals provides video of nonscholastic competition that is not available to the general public. People keep asking why this is a big deal. It's because the original legislation was never intended to cover a service like Rivals.
The original legislation was designed to target a basketball-specific (at the time) problem: funnelling of money through recruiting services.
So, it appears that at least for now, only Rivals.com is affected by the new NCAA legislation, since it offers a product not available to the general public. I don’t exactly understand why having a unique product is a problem, since that’s what competition is all about in the marketplace. Still, given the meteoric rise of 247Sports.com—largely at the expense of Rivals.com’s market of subscribers—this has got to be a bitter pill for the firm.
UPDATE II: If you run a recruiting/scouting service and you hide non-scholastic content (i.e., video) behind a paywall, you are in the same boat as Rivals.com, a football coach has told me. Rivals may be able to allow coaches and institutions to maintain their subscriptions by making the “insider” content available to the public, but that would end any competitive advantage the affiliated sites have over their Scout and 247Sports competitors.
Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com obtained this statement from the NCAA: “All recruiting/scouting services are held to the same legislated standard and we consider Rivals.com to be a recruiting/scouting service."
UPDATE III: Fischer now believes the legislation applies to any site having “insider” content, so Scout, 247Sports and even ESPN team sites are affected by this.
UPDATE IV: And, what will probably be the last update on this, Fischer has obtained copies of the emails that led to the 849,579 megaton nuclear blast this morning. It’s a big deal for the business models of recruiting services. For coaches and fans, probably not so much.