By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
The world of social media has proved fertile ground for NCAA violations, a lesson driven home for Mississippi State in recent months.
In May, football assistant coach Angelo Mirando, who was promoted from graduate assistant to receivers coach in January, committed a secondary NCAA violation involving Twitter.
According to documents obtained by the Daily Journal, the 25-year-old Mirando sent a Twitter message on May 12 saying he was leaving a scrimmage involving three high schools – Olive Branch, Cleveland East Side and Memphis Ridgeway. He wrote that he’d watched some “well coached ball.”
That was deemed a level two secondary violation of an NCAA bylaw prohibiting coaches from making public comments before prospects have signed a national letter of intent or financial aid offer.
In MSU’s letter informing the SEC of the violation, compliance coordinator Steve Smith says Mirando was aware he could mention what cities he was in while recruiting, but that he didn’t know mentioning specific schools was impermissible.
The SEC accepted MSU’s self-imposed penalties, which included Mirando being prohibited from using his Twitter account for 30 days, and MSU losing “one recruiting opportunity” during the 2011-12 academic year for the prospects at the three high schools he mentioned.
Facebook faux pas
MSU also committed a level two secondary violation via Facebook.
In February, a post on the MSU basketball student support group’s Facebook page announced an impending unofficial visit by a football prospect. That violated an NCAA bylaw that prohibits “publicizing or arranging for publicity of a prospect’s visit to campus.”
The information about the visit came from a current football player, whose name was redacted from the documents received by the Daily Journal.
The self-imposed punishments were accepted by the SEC: a letter of admonishment to the football player, a letter to football coach Dan Mullen reminding him of his obligations in the matter, and rules education about the particular bylaw in question.
Financial aid violation
Also among the violations reported by MSU since February was a provision of financial aid to a football player who was not enrolled as a full-time student.
The athlete, whose name was redacted, was given full aid for the spring 2011 semester despite being enrolled part time. The athlete believed he had all the hours necessary to graduate at the end of the semester, which would make him eligible for an exception to receive full aid. But upon applying for graduation the athlete was told he would be short a few hours.
The player then added a class to become full-time, but that came too late to avoid what was ruled a level one secondary violation.
The self-imposed punishment was a revision of “procedures for athletic academic advisors when enrolling student-athletes part time to ensure a future similar violation does not occur.”
The SEC accepted that punishment.