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Illegal calls among UGA violations

By Marc Weiszer - marc.weiszer@onlineathens.com

Published Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buzz up!

Members of Georgia's football coaching staff committed secondary NCAA violations with impermissible phone calls to prized recruits Aaron Murray and Marlon Brown before they became Bulldogs.

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As a result, coaches were not permitted to make recruiting calls last weekend during a contact period and won't be allowed any telephone contact with recruits for two weeks outside of a future contact period.

The impermissible phones calls were among 10 cases where Georgia staffers committed NCAA secondary violations - including three in football - that Georgia self reported between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2009, according to information obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald under an Open Records request.

Coach Mark Richt and assistant coaches Tony Ball, Jon Fabris and Stacy Searels were involved in the violation reported on July 13, which Georgia said was inadvertent.

Richt had telephone contact with Brown, the No. 1 prospect from Tennessee, twice in the same week. Ball phoned Murray, a quarterback, twice before Sept. 1 of his senior year of high school at Tampa Plant. Searels phoned David Paulsen, a defensive end from Marietta who is now at Oklahoma State, also before his senior year. Richt and Fabris each phoned Pernell McPhee, an end who is now at Mississippi State, in the same week, and Richt had telephone contact with McPhee three times in another week.

Georgia's recruiting software uncovered the violations in an audit that cross references prospects' phone numbers with university telephone bills, compliance director Eric Baumgartner said.

According to a letter from Georgia to the Southeastern Conference office, Georgia addressed the issue by stressing to coaches the importance of locking cell phone keypads when not in use and communicating to other staff members prior to making calls and documenting each call.

In another violation reported on Nov. 17, Ball evaluated a recruit more than once during the fall evaluation period. Georgia's self-imposed penalty is that it won't have contact with prospects from the unnamed school during the spring evaluation period or one contact period.

The other violation involving football was reported on Aug. 5. Recruiting assistant Charlie Cantor - a non-coaching staff member - phoned high school coaches regarding recruits' transcripts. He was barred from writing high school coaches or recruits for the fall semester.

Other violations included

► Women's basketball assistant Cameron Newbauer posted comments about commitment Ronika Ronsford on his Twitter account in September prior to her signing a letter of intent. Georgia prohibited him from updating the account for two weeks and from posting any future updates that involve recruiting.

► Men's golf and gymnastics coaching staff members sent text messages to recruits and women's soccer and swimming and diving made impermissible phone calls to recruits.

► Georgia's media rights holder posted a color media guide on Georgiadogs.com in a Nov. 18 violation. The NCAA permits color only on the covers and black and white on the inside in both print and online.

Secondary violations are considered to be isolated or inadvertent in nature and provide only a minimal recruiting advantage.

Georgia reported eight violations in the first six months of 2009 and 15 in the last six months of 2008.

Of the latest violations, Baumgartner said: "They're consistent with any other violation we've reported, caught through the normal processes of self reporting and adjusting where we need to and hoping that we don't have a repeat violation of the bylaw."

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► Georgia's media rights holder posted a color media guide on Georgiadogs.com in a Nov. 18 violation. The NCAA permits color only on the covers and black and white on the inside in both print and online.

and WTF is this now the NCAA controls the colors you can use online and in print? These colleges need to step up and force the NCAA to quit some of this crap. how do colors make an advantage

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nope not a big deal at all.. i remember a few years ago one assistant called a recruit 2x in the same week and the second call was right after the first one and was a back pocket call, but it was reported as a secondary violation. all teams have secondary violations throughout the year and many revolve around calling recruits. when you are on the road and you have multiple coaches recruiting a recruit they will sometimes screw up and do that, but that is why they audit the calls so they can report those mistakes and violations. Now if CMR was kiffin and a loud mouth and accusing others falsely of violations then you would see this stuff blown out of proportion, but he isn't.

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