Irish TE tweets a possible violation, but NCAA has bigger focus


Brace yourself, folks. It looks like it’s that kind of day.

If nothing else, the “incident” involving Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert serves as a reminder that the NCAA rule book is so thick that mistakes are not just likely, they’re almost guaranteed.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Eifert posted a message on his Twitter account about Irish recruit, Jaylon Smith. Smith, a linebacker from Bishop Luers High School (Ind.), was scheduled to visit South Bend this weekend.

“Big recruiting day tomorrow here at ND,” Eifert said. “Looking forward to meeting and hangin with 5 star Fort Wayne native @JaeeSmiff9ENT”

That tweet has since been deleted as it violates NCAA rules of addressing a recruit directly before they sign a letter of intent. Notre Dame has also offered this statement:

“We’re aware of the tweet and it has been forwarded to our compliance office where they will process it appropriately. We take any potential violation of NCAA rules very seriously and we will never compromise on matters of NCAA compliance. Ultimately, this will serve as an excellent teaching moment for all of our teams and student-athletes.”

Not a big deal, and with social media being what it is, Eifert’s tweet is merely the backdrop for how the NCAA will be approaching primary and secondary violations. Last month, Oklahoma assistant coach Jay Norvell actually offered wide receiver recruit Rashaad Samples a scholarship via Twitter, also a direct violation of NCAA rules.

Last year, Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon inadvertently mentioned Russell Wilson before the quarterback signed with the Badgers. Same issue, different uniform.

Those NCAA no-no’s, considered secondary in nature, rarely, if every, result in any punishment now and that will continue to be the case going forward. In January, the NCAA laid out a working draft of a new penalty matrix that hopes to paint a clearer picture for what constitutes major violations and what sanctions would accompany them. There’s been a lot of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling over the past year or so over the inconsistencies of the NCAA’s efforts — Rich Rodriguez called the Association “a little misguided” last year — but give credit where credit’s due.

The NCAA gets a lot of grief, much of it justified, but college athletic’s version of Big Brother is at least working toward a makeover. Included in that transformation is how it deals with social media blunders, which already are impossible to stop.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.