Gator Football Practice 03-13-13

Report: potential ‘major violation,’ Miami dropping a dime preceded Joker’s resignation


Bit by bit, day by day, we’re able to piece together a little more of the surprising — some would say stunning — resignation of Joker Phillips as Florida’s wide receivers coach Wednesday.

The departure was labeled “personal reasons” initially, although it was subsequently reported that an NCAA violation was behind the resignation.  Specifically, a “bump” with a potential recruit, which would be considered a very minor, secondary NCAA violation — and which wouldn’t normally prompt a well-respected coach to leave his post so suddenly, if at all.

According to Yahoo!, however, there appears to be more behind the alleged NCAA violation that forced the Joker’s hand.  From Pat Forde and Charles Robinson:

Former University of Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips resigned this week after the NCAA received a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

Three sources told Yahoo Sports the photo was turned over to the NCAA by an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes athletics program. Should the NCAA determine Phillips improperly recruited during a mandated dead period, it could be considered a major NCAA violation.

Sitting with a potential recruit in a restaurant during a dead period would not only seem to bend the spirit of the “bump” rule, but would ostensibly shatter it into myriad pieces.

Essentially, the “bump” rule involves a coach accidentally coming into contact with a potential recruit — i.e., bumping into him/her — during an impermissible contact period. A brief exchange would be considered a secondary violation and would result in less than a slap on the wrist; what the Yahoo! report is describing extends far beyond what’s normally thought of as a violation of the “bump” rule, and could cause significant issues for Phillips NCAA-wise.

What it would mean for the Florida football program and potential sanctions, minor (more likely) or major (less likely), from an emasculated NCAA is unknown at this point in time.

Neither the NCAA nor Florida, obviously, are commenting on the situation, including Yahoo!‘s most recent allegations.

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.