Paul Rhoads

Impermissible phone calls have Iowa State facing ‘major infractions case’


Notice the quotations in the headline.

According to the Ames Tribune, an Iowa State internal investigation uncovered “three years’ worth of impermissible phone calls and text messages” to recruits that, by NCAA standards, constitutes a major infractions case. The investigation goes beyond just football, but relevant names mentioned — at least as far as we’re concerned — include current ISU assistants Shane Burnham and Bill Bleil, as well as former assistants Bobby Elliott, now at Notre Dame, and Luke Wells, now at Utah State. All could be subject to a NCAA show-cause penalty.

As the Tribune notes, a core of the violations stem from coaches failing to properly record phone calls/messages to recruits who did not answer. However, the more serious part is that ISU didn’t properly educate its athletic staff on recording no-contact calls after October, 2009. That could result in a failure to monitor charge and that’s really what makes this a “major” infractions case.

(The Tribune also breaks down the violations if you’d like to see them HERE)

“The athletics department failed to adequately monitor its sports programs and educate its coaches regarding telephone communication with prospective student-athletes,” the summary deposition reads. Iowa State is seeking a two-year probation period as its sanction. That period began in November, 2011, and ends this year.

It’s tough to tell what Iowa State could face regarding its failure to adequately monitor its programs, but recall that the NCAA approved numerous recruiting deregulation rules this past January. One of those rules included lifting restrictions on the number of phone calls/text messages a recruiter could place to a prospect. However, that rule was tabled last month and is currently not in line to become effective this August.

If nothing else, this comes at an interesting time because of the NCAA’s future intentions and its current rulebook — especially with the NCAA redoing its penalty structure.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.