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South Carolina commits recruiting violations in football

Download the Dec. 2017 University of South Carolina Public Infractions Decision

Two University of South Carolina, Columbia, assistant football coaches leveraged relationships with a high school’s coaches to create a built-in recruiting advantage, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

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

The violations stemmed from the assistant coaches’ two separate visits to the high school to observe a football team’s workout during an evaluation period. While this evaluation is otherwise allowed under NCAA rules, the high school head football coach and strength and conditioning coach handpicked four prospects to perform drills exclusively for the assistant coach at the assistant coach’s request. One week later, the strength coach pulled three of the same four prospects aside to perform drills exclusively for the other assistant coach.

“Impermissible contacts and tryouts — no matter how few or brief — are an important matter to the membership,” the panel stated in its decision. “The violations confer an unfair advantage in the recruiting process on institutions that engage in them to the detriment of institutions that comply with the legislation.”

Penalties in the case include a $5,000 fine and the following recruiting restrictions:

  • No recruitment of any of the prospects involved in the violations (self-imposed by the university).
  • Reduction of fall evaluation days by four, from 42 to 38, during the fall 2017 evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).
  • No engagement in off-campus recruiting activities at the involved high school from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018 (self-imposed by the university).
  • Suspension of each involved assistant coach from off-campus recruiting activities for 42 days during the fall 2017 evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).

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 William Bock III, attorney in private practice; Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State and chief hearing officer; Stephen A. Madva, retired attorney; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Big East Conference; Joe Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; and Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel, Princeton.