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.