The Miami Hurricanes have been the talk of the off season in college football, and for good reason. It was recently reported that a man named Nevin Shapiro had been funneling cash and extravagant gifts to Miami Hurricanes football players since, well, probably since Luther Campbell (yes, from 2 Live Crew) stopped doing the exact same thing. Obviously, this is a huge violation of NCAA rules and will likely result in harsh penalties.
You know what else results in harsh penalties from the NCAA? Just about everything. Here are five petty acts that somehow broke NCAA rules…
University of Georgia Coach Is Bad at Texting
The NCAA has had rules in place regarding coaches communicating with recruits via text message for a few years now. So when Mark Richt, head football coach at the University of Georgia, received a text message from an unknown number asking for training camp dates, he did the absolutely correct thing in the most incorrect manner imaginable.
Richt intended to forward the mysterious email to the school’s Compliance director, Eric Baumgartner. But something wrong that likely related to old people trying to master newfangled technology happened and Richt replied to the mystery texter directly instead. Unfortunately, the person on the receiving end of his inadvertent text was Ron Jenkins, the father of football prospect Jordan Jenkins. Boom! Violation!
At this point, the school was required to report this secondary violation to the NCAA. But the University of Georgia understands that nobody likes receiving a phone call for some minor bullshit like that, so they made sure to commit another hilariously identical violation first. When the school compliance official asked Richt if the recipient of his illicit text replied, the technologically brain dead coach attempted to forward the reply he received from Jenkins back to the compliance official. Can you guess where he sent it instead? That’s right, straight back to Ron Jenkins.
If you’re keeping track at home, that makes two NCAA violations in the space of about a minute, all because Mark Richt can’t competently send a text message.
WVU Players Wear Vests
The West Virginia University Mountaineers football program was already mired in an NCAA probe over five alleged major violations when the 2010 season began, so it’s safe to assume that they were doing everything in their power to stay in line until the storm passed. But if trying was all that one needed to accomplish a goal, no man would be a virgin past the age of 14.
WVU’s hopes of not veering outside the NCAA’s notoriously picky lines fell apart when some players had the gall to wear “vests” during the first two days of preseason camp. This is a direct violation of NCAA rule 18.104.22.168 subsection D, which would be alright by us if we’re talking about these vests…
Hell, you can ban those for the entire season for all we care. We can see how having those would make for a pretty big advantage (or assured mutual destruction) during a game. But those aren’t the kind of vests in question. To understand better, read it directly from the NCAA rulebook:
“During the first two days of the acclimatization period, helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear. During the third and fourth days of the acclimatization period, helmets and shoulder pads shall be the only pieces of protective equipment student-athletes may wear. During the final day of the five-day period and on any days thereafter, student-athletes may practice in full pads.”
If that still doesn’t explain things, perhaps this visual aid will help:
This is perfectly acceptable.
This is not.
Maybe if we were talking about regular shoulder pads, which are equally effective at protection and total destruction, we could see how it might be an issue. But the players were wearing what are known as “Spider Pads” which are exactly like regular shoulder pads except they’re made out of pillow stuffing or some shit.
Surely, you can understand the danger here. You can’t just throw a kid out on the field with additional protection from injury. That’s what those hippies in California would do. Real players just walk a shoulder separation off.
Anyway, when pictures of the players wearing the offending protective equipment surfaced online, the school had to report this massive indiscretion as a secondary violation to the NCAA.
Let this be a lesson, kids. Before you take steps to ensure your safety, make sure the NCAA approves.
Dez Bryant Talks to Deion Sanders
This is a pretty well known story, but we’ve got some time to kill, so we’ll recount it here anyway. The problems started when the NCAA asked Bryant if he had ever met with Deion Sanders. Understanding that the NCAA asking you a question about something means that you’re about two seconds away from being punched in the face by the long arm of the NCAA law, Dez Bryant promptly lied.
Fortunately for Bryant, meeting with Sanders wasn’t even against NCAA rules (and it’s probably a great way to meet MC Hammer). Slightly less fortunate was the fact that the NCAA knew he lied. Just like that, Bryant went from being one of the top rated receivers in the nation to being declared ineligible. While most agreed that some form of punishment was in order, Bryant being declared ineligible for the most important season of his college career came as a shock to a lot of people.
It’s not completely out of line to wonder, if meeting Sanders wasn’t a violation, why would the NCAA even ask the question? In a court of law, you have protection against answering questions that may implicate you in wrongdoing, you know. Not to be conspiracy theorists or anything, but given the NCAA’s history of “alleged” selective rule enforcement, one has to wonder if they just kind of approached Bryant knowing he might lie and get himself in hot water.
After all, the point of the questioning was to determine if anything inappropriate (like improper benefits inappropriate, not creepy uncle inappropriate, we hope) happened during the meeting. So why not ask that question and maybe start it with something like “During your recent meeting with the fairy from the DirecTV commercials…” instead?
“Hey hey hey…hey. Hey.”
The ensuing controversy eventually led to Sanders cutting all ties with Bryant, although the pair have been
flirting bickering in the press ever since.
As sad as this story was when it happened, the world got over it when we all realized how much of a dick Dez Bryant really is.
The University of South Carolina Brings the Bagels
It took a long time to happen, but finally, the NCAA was able to get a handle on the nationwide epidemic of student athletes being fed tasty treats outside of pre-approved meal times. When the University of South Carolina reported a whopping 14 secondary violations to the NCAA in 2009, one of them dealt with the very tragedy that we mentioned in the opening sentence.
According to the filing, a USC (not the gay one) men’s basketball coach had the goddamn audacity to give his players bagels when it wasn’t even breakfast. Weirdo!
See, when players travel, a school has two options. They can feed players all day long like in the movie Se7en, but then they can’t give the players a per diem for meals. The more traditional practice is to give each player $15 per meal (which is like five times what we spend on food, Mr. Underpaid College Athlete) and nothing else.
Most would probably interpret that to mean that you can’t give players money for food and feed them free grub three times a day. Because that would be like giving them $45 per day in cash, and we all know college athletes can’t be trusted with that kind of financial windfall.
As ridiculous as this story may sound, we’re happy to report that the NCAA is making progress on this front. They recently decided that, on those rare occasions when providing bagels to athletes is acceptable, you can even go so far as to give them cream cheese or, if you’re feeling especially non-conformist, a packet of jelly. Condiments used to be considered an improper benefit, which, taken to its logical conclusion, means the NCAA also believes that dry bagels are capable of being somehow beneficial to people in need of a quick snack. That’s total nonsense.
And before you ask, no, we’re not making the cream cheese rule up.
Steve Spurrier’s Wife Sends Christmas Cards
In an age when most people assume that every school with a big name program is on the take, Steve Spurrier is truly a breath of fresh air. Not only has he never been involved in any kind of major recruiting scandals, unlike that bagel loving basketball coach he shares a school with, but he likes to call out other coaches who have been guilty of shady dealing in the past.
Back when he was coaching the Florida Gators, Spurrier famously gave the rival Florida State Seminoles the nickname of “New Shoes University” in honor of their numerous recruitment scandals. He also went at the much maligned Lane Kiffin once, an act that likely elicited a standing ovation from all of Tennessee.
So, it should come as no surprise that Steve Spurrier isn’t the offender in this story. It might be a little more of a surprise when you find out the person in trouble was actually Spurrier’s wife. And you’ll probably be downright shocked to know that the “crime” that landed Mrs. Spurrier in hot water with the NCAA was…sending Christmas cards to new recruits. That’s right, new recruits. Not prospective recruits. Not high school players. New recruits, kids who had already signed on to play for The Old Ball Coach and needed no further convincing on the matter.
So what, exactly, is the harm in sending Christmas cards to new players? Steve Spurrier himself summed it up the best…
“I guess now that’s against the rules.”
To be fair, that’s the same explanation he received from the NCAA. Probably.
What made this incident so baffling is that Mrs. Spurrier had been sending Christmas cards to new recruits for years, all while she and Steve remained blissfully unaware that they were damaging the fabric of the college sports landscape by wishing players a Merry Christmas in writing.
Thanks for keeping us all safe, NCAA.