The University of Virginia announced Friday that it has self-reported 32 NCAA violations involving impermissible contact between its football assistant coaches and recruits. In a news release, the school said the sheer number of violations elevated the overall wrongdoing to Level II status, which in NCAA parlance denotes a “significant breach of conduct” that intends to give the school “more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive” advantage.
According to the school, the violations took place over a two-week period in April and May of 2016 — around four months after Virginia hired Bronco Mendenhall as its football coach — and involved Cavaliers assistants posing for photographs with recruits “after a brief greeting.” Based on the dates given by Virginia, the contacts took place during a so-called “evaluation period,” when coaches are allowed to engage “in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospective student-athletes,” according to NCAA bylaws. However, in-person contact with the recruits themselves is prohibited during the evaluation period.
Virginia said it has accepted the following penalties after consulting with the NCAA’s enforcement division, some of them self-imposed:
— Public reprimand and $5,000 fine.
— A reduction in the number of allowed off-campus meetings between the Cavaliers’ coaches and the recruits in question, from six to four.
— A reduction in the number of spring 2017 recruiting evaluations, from 168 to 150.
— Mandatory rules education about permissible contact for the football team’s coaching staff.
“I am disappointed these actions occurred during engagements with prospects and resulted in violations,” Mendenhall said in the statement. “It is incumbent upon everyone associated with our program to have a complete understanding of the NCAA bylaws and interpretations and it’s my responsibility to ensure that happens. We have already taken steps with our compliance staff to improve our training and rules education to ensure we meet that standard. It is our goal to operate at the highest level of compliance to support the University and positively represent our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and community.”