Violations Roundup, Part I: McPhee, Phone Calls, Extra Benefits

I periodically file a Freedom of Information Act request with Mississippi State, in which I seek information on any NCAA violations committed by the athletic department over a certain time period. I received 25 pages of such material yesterday, documenting a host of secondary violations in several sports: baseball, women’s basketball, football, soccer, track and field, etc.

These have all been reported since July 1, so it does cover a good six months. I’m not going to go through all of them now, because there are so many. But I will run down some of the more interesting ones, none of which have not been fully resolved because they happened so recently. So I can’t tell you for sure how these particular violations will be classified.

I’ll get to the rest of the violations in a separate post, probably tomorrow.

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Football (Dated Nov. 30, 2011)

Violation: NCAA bylaw 13.1.2.1, impermissible recruiting contact by a former student-athlete.

Details: On Nov. 26 – the day MSU played Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl – former Bulldog defensive end Pernell McPhee (now with the Baltimore Ravens) had contact with a prospect “beyond the exchange of a greeting” on the sidelines during pregame warmups. The violation was discovered through a post on a social networking site and a “subsequent interview with a media outlet” by the compliance office. The contact was initiated by the prospect and wasn’t arranged by any member of the MSU football staff.

Self-imposed penalties: MSU declared the prospect ineligible and asked that he be reinstated by the NCAA reinstatement staff, “based upon case precedent in these matters”; MSU will reduce by two the number of allowable contacts during the current academic year; pregame sideline procedures will be reviewed and revised as needed prior to next football season.

SEC response: No response yet. (Note: The rule states that such contact “shall not affect the prospective student-athlete’s eligibility.”)

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Football (Dated Nov. 21, 2011)

Violation: NCAA bylaw 13.1.3.1.2, limitations on telephone calls to prospects.

Details: On Nov. 17, assistant coach Greg Knox placed a phone call to a prospect, the second one made that week to said prospect by MSU staff. Head coach Dan Mullen had placed the first call, on Nov. 15. Telephone contact outside a regular contact period is limited to one call per week per prospect. The violation was self-reported by the football staff on Nov. 18.

Self-imposed penalties: MSU declared the prospect ineligible and asked that he be reinstated by the NCAA reinstatement staff, “based upon case precedent in these matters”; no MSU staff member may telephone the prospect for two weeks (Nov. 20-Dec. 3, 2011); Knox given a letter of admonishment; Mullen given a letter reminding him of his obligation under bylaw 11.1.2.1.

SEC response: No response yet.

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Unspecified sport (Dated Jan. 9, 2012)

Violation: NCAA bylaw 12.1.2.1.6, preferential treatment, benefits, or service provided to an enrolled student-athlete.

Details: During MSU’s 2011 Thanksgiving break (Nov. 18-25), a student-athlete received benefits of approximately $1,607.60 from someone other than a family member or legal guardian. The athlete considers this person a “personal family friend and did not consider this assistance to be inappropriate.” MSU notes that the person providing the benefits does not represent MSU’s athletics interests.

Self-imposed penalties: MSU declared the athlete ineligible and seeks reinstatement through the NCAA reinstatement process.

SEC response: No response yet.

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Unspecified sport (Dated Jan. 9, 2012)

Violation: NCAA bylaw 16.11.2.1, extra benefits provided to an enrolled student-athlete.

Details: During MSU’s 2011 Thanksgiving break (Nov. 18-25), a student-athlete received benefits of approximately $937.96 from someone other than a family member or legal guardian. The athlete considers this person a family friend of her boyfriend, “who invited her on this trip and did not consider this assistance to be inappropriate.” MSU notes that the person providing the benefits does not represent MSU’s athletics interests.

Self-imposed penalties: MSU declared the athlete ineligible and seeks reinstatement through the NCAA reinstatement process.

SEC response: No response yet.