By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
According to the NCAA, the Texas A&M Aggies football team violated NCAA rules under head coach Jimbo Fisher. The NCAA claims that the program violated the governing body’s ‘recruiting and countable athletically related activity rules between January 2018 and February 2019.’
Fisher also violated the NCAA’s responsibility rules. He has been hit with a six-month show cause penalty.
Texas A&M claimed that the violations were ‘isolated’ and that the violations were ‘unintentional.’ The school also said that the University and Fisher worked with the NCAA to resolve the matter.
Before this violation, Texas A&M said that Fisher never had a violation against him, according to KBTX.
“I am grateful to the coaches and staff for acknowledging their mistakes and for taking appropriate actions to address issues, even before any decisions were made by the NCAA,” said Texas A&M University President Michael Young. “The ongoing commitment to compliance is essential. Coach Fisher and his staff have taken responsibility, implemented corrective actions, and have our full and total support.”
Fisher and former Texas A&M assistant coach Jay Graham had ‘impermissible recruiting contact with a prospect at his high school,’ the NCAA alleges. The incident in question before the completion of the prospects junior year in high school.
Texas A&M claims that the coaches were talking to the high school coach when the ‘communication with the prospective athlete took place.’
“As Texas A&M’s Head Football Coach, I am responsible for promoting and monitoring for NCAA compliance in our program,” said Fisher. “While I am disappointed in the violations, including an unintended one that resulted from a conversation with a high school athlete, it is still my responsibility to ensure we are adhering to each and every rule. I am pleased to have this matter completely behind our program and look forward to continuing our efforts to make every aspect of our program one all Aggies can continue to be proud of.”
Graham is now entering his first season as the Tennessee Volunteers running backs coach after spending two seasons with the Texas A&M program. Graham worked under Fisher from 2013 through 2019 at both Florida State and Texas A&M.
He has been hit with a six-month recruiting penalty.
“During the process of hiring Coach Jay Graham, we were made aware of the circumstances at his previous institution, and we vetted it thoroughly in accordance with NCAA and SEC bylaws,” Tennessee football said in a statement. “We established and maintain extremely high confidence in Coach Graham’s commitment to compliance and are proud to have him on our staff.”
The NCAA also claimed ‘during permissible weeks of spring and summer activity, the football program unintentionally caused student-athletes to exceed activity time limits by approximately seven hours.’ Texas A&M said that ‘overages took place in seven of 21 weeks in the spring and summer of 2018.’
The school said that it was 13 minutes in one case and two hours the next. The school also said that they have taken several actions before this announcement came out.
The university said, ‘[it] promptly investigated, acknowledged the CARA violations for the period in question, provided additional education to the football staff, and imposed close administrative oversight of football team activities to ensure the program does not exceed CARA limits going forward.’ The school also admitted that they stopped recruiting athletes from the school in question with an off-campus recruiting ban in November 2019.
The program also had limits on both on and off campus recruiting in 2019 and 2020.
“Since I arrived at Texas A&M, I have seen up close and personal Coach Fisher’s commitment to integrity and following the rules,” said Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork. “I appreciate his response, including actions taken during the process itself. As a result, the program moves forward and remains on track in both our short and long-term quest for excellence. This will have no impact on our current or future student-athletes, the 2020 post-season, or our pursuit of championship success on and off the field.”
Penalties both Texas A&M and the NCAA agreed upon:
- A single year of probation from July 2, 2020, to July 1, 2021
- Coach Fisher and former assistant coach Graham will conduct no off-campus recruiting activities during the fall of 2020 permissible contact period as part of a six-month show-cause order; Coach Graham will serve this penalty at his new institution
- A reduction of one paid official visit for a prospective student-athlete during the 2019-2020 academic year and a reduction of 18 days of unofficial visits for prospective student-athletes in football during the 2019-2020 academic year
- A seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the football coaching staff for the 2020 spring off-campus recruiting period and a 10-day off-campus recruiting ban for the football coaching staff for the 2020 fall off-campus recruiting period.
- A previously self-imposed off-campus recruiting ban for the entire football coaching staff for November 2019, which reduced the permissible evaluation days for the 2019-20 academic year by 19
- The university will develop and implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation to instruct coaches and all athletics department personnel and institutional staff members on their responsibilities regarding NCAA recruiting legislation
- The university ended its recruitment of the prospect and will not recruit any prospects from the prospect’s high school through spring 2021
- A fine of $5,000
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