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Virginia football coaches commit recruiting violation

Download the April 2017 University of Virginia Public Infractions Decision

Seven Virginia football coaches committed a recruiting violation by having in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts during an evaluation period, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff, university and participating parties must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The newly hired football staff wanted to personally verify the height and weight of position-specific prospects before offering scholarships to them. For this reason, the coaches decided to pose for photos standing next to prospects. During the spring 2016 evaluation period, the staff posed for photos with 32 prospects at 23 high schools.

While the coaches thought the contact was allowed, NCAA rules prohibit these types of contacts during an evaluation period. The panel noted even brief face-to-face encounters during noncontact periods result in an unfair advantage for the school. 

The panel used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • A two-for-one reduction in permissible contacts with each football prospect during the next contact period after the release of this decision (self-imposed by the university).
  • A two-for-one reduction in the number of days available for the spring 2017 evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).
  • Rules education for the football coaching staff regarding the “bump” rule and evaluation period (self-imposed by the university). The university must provide documentation to the Offices of the Committees on Infractions confirming the completion of the rules education.
  • A $5,000 fine.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president of academic affairs at West Virginia; Eleanor W. Myers, law professor at Temple; Vincent Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Big East Conference; Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; and Sankar Suryanarayan, chief hearing officer for the panel and university counsel, Princeton.