October 22, 2013

Hefty fine for future Miami text, phone violations

By joshschmitztxtsmarter-No Comment

  • The NCAA’s case against Miami cited rule violations involving impermissible calls and text messages
  • Miami football coaches sent 120 impermissible text messages to 34 recruits from 2007-2010
  • As part of the penalties’ any coach who makes an impermissible text or call will be fined

As part of the University of Miami’s self-assessed penalties related to the school’s booster-related scandal, assistant coaches across all sports will pay a bundle for calls and text messages that violate the NCAA’s rules regarding electronic communication.

The case against Miami cited impermissible text messaging between coaches and prospective recruits across a spectrum of sports, ranging from the school’s football program through non-mainstream sports like women’s volleyball and women’s rowing.

Under the school’s self-imposed sanctions, any staff member – across every sport – who sends an impermissible text to a prospective student-athlete will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days.

The decision was motivated by the university’s efforts to convince the NCAA that it understood the significance of the allegations that surfaced in 2011 regarding disgraced former booster Nevin Shapiro.

“That’s something that administratively that we felt was what we needed to do to recognize the situation and the seriousness of it and I guess the level of commitment we have to being compliant as a program,” athletic director Blake James said Tuesday. “I will say president Shalala is 100 percent committed to having a program that buys into the expectations of the (NCAA).”

According to the NCAA’s findings, one former assistant football coach, current Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, sent 41 impermissible text messages despite being aware of NCAA bylaws prohibiting such communication. The NCAA handed Hurtt a two-year “show-cause” penalty.

Under the new penalty for impermissible electronic contact, Hurtt’s violations alone would have led to a $4,100 fine. The football program’s 120 impermissible texts would have caused a $12,000 fine.

Miami first notified the NCAA of potential rule violations in November 2009. In March 2010, Miami submitted to the NCAA a report detailing multiple impermissible phone calls and text messages.

As was self-reported by the Miami and alleged in the NCAA’s case, from September 7, 2007, through January 7, 2010, members of the football coaching staff sent 120 text messages to 34 prospects in violation of NCAA recruiting communication bylaws.

From October 19, 2007, through March 13, 2010, coaches in the sports of women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball and women’s rowing sent another 31 impermissible text messages to 13 prospects.

“We’re proud to be members of the NCAA,” James said. “I don’t think there is any better organization. That’s not to say we won’t make some changes as an organization in the future, but I think it is a fact that we value our membership in the ACC and the NCAA and I think that was a step to just really show that we’re serious about compliance at the University of Miami and we’re gonna take steps that may be unprecedented.”

The most blatant case of impermissible electronic communication occurred at Oklahoma, where former coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff were found to have conducted 577 impermissible texts and calls to recruits. If these rule violations occurred under Miami’s current penalties, Sampson would have incurred a $57,700 fine. At Indiana, where he served from 2006-8, Sampson was found to have made at least 100 additional impermissible texts and calls. Sampson’s five-year show-cause penalty is set to expire next month.

The deregulation of existing rules pertaining to electronic communication was considered by the NCAA’s Board of Directors and Rules Working Group as recently as this spring.

In May, the NCAA Board of Directors suspended a potential rule change that would have permitted unlimited electronic communication, including text messaging, between college coaches and football recruits. Unlimited messaging is allowed in basketball recruiting, however.

The initial rule change, titled Proposal 13-3, was met with extensive disproval from NCAA institutions. At least 75 schools requested a rule override, which mandated that the Board of Directors review the proposal.

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Published Online: USA TODAY SPORTS, OCT. 22, 2013