Impermissible calls among several minor NCAA violations for Ohio State football

Joey Kaufman

The NCAA prohibited Ohio State’s football coaches from making telephone calls with high school recruits for two weeks last February as a penalty for impermissible calls over the previous two years.

Between March 2017 and June 2018, coaches and an unnamed member of the team’s support staff placed seven impermissible phone calls with recruits.

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The coaches included Urban Meyer, who called a prospect on Sept. 21, 2017, for the second time within a week. It was one more than allotted under NCAA rules.

After reporting the violations in December, Ohio State prevented Meyer from calling recruits from Dec. 20 to 26, one week before he retired after seven seasons. His final game was the Rose Bowl win over Washington on Jan. 1.

Other coaches faced similar restrictions before the NCAA instituted additional discipline for February.

Ohio State said the violations were reported late due to errors from its recruiting monitoring software.

Impermissible phone calls was one of four NCAA secondary rules violations involving the football team that Ohio State reported during the 2018-19 academic year.

The university released a report detailing the violations to The Dispatch on Wednesday in response to a public records request.

In other instances, defensive line coach Larry Johnson sent an impermissible text message to a recruit belonging to the class of 2021 on Jan. 12, 2019. The school said Johnson had “mistakenly believed” the player was part of the 2020 class.

Ohio State later barred Johnson from sending electronic messages, also including emails or direct messages on Twitter, for one week, and issued a letter of education to the football staff about contact with recruits.

A person involved with the football program, whose name is redacted in the report, had also texted with a 2021 prospect in January after he also "mistakenly believed" the player was in the 2020 class.

Ohio State’s other football violations were for preferential treatment and impermissible promotion.

An unnamed football player received "one night of lodging" from a friend, as well as another impermissible benefit that was redacted in the report.

The school determined the player received preferential treatment, because, "under NCAA interpretations, the relationship did not meet the preexisting relationship test," according to the report. Ohio State reported it in October.

Ohio State was to develop a plan to educate and monitor preferential treatment and extra benefits in response.

The violation for impermissible promotion followed a player retweeting a tweet that violated NCAA bylaw The school was to provide additional education.

The NCAA did not issue penalties.


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