Did Clemson Commit a Minor Violation?

The Internet has been swarming all day about an article that Duane Rankin ran from the Greenville News on July 15 that involved Clemson wide receiver Kelvin Grant and assistant coach Dabo Swinney. CUTigers.com went straight to Becky Bowman herself to try and uncover if this would be considered an NCAA violation.

The article has a statement that some think would constitute an NCAA violation. That statement from the Rankin article reads:

"Swinney said Grant is his "personal project." Grant ran 35 minutes Tuesday morning and is scheduled to run today with Swinney as punishment for academic problems this summer in relation to either missing study hall, being late for it or leaving from it too early."

Under NCAA rules #17.02.01 and # it is not permissible for a coach to supervise an individual workout by a student athlete in the off-season. The actual rule is floating around on various web sites (including CUTigers.com) if you would like to read it in full.

I talked with Becky Bowman, Clemson Director of Compliance, this afternoon to try and shed some light on the situation. Obviously, Mrs. Bowman could not, and would not, comment on the specific allegation of Swinney with Kelvin Grant.

However, Bowman did refer me to the above NCAA rules that specifically say a coach cannot supervise a workout unless there is a safety issue at stake. At Clemson, the only sports that allow a coach to participate in an individual workout because of safety reasons are Swimming, Diving, Track and Field, and Rowing. There is no circumstance in which there would be a safety reason for a football coach to supervise a student athlete during a summer workout, according to Mrs. Bowman.

Quite frankly, Mrs. Bowman was matter-of-fact about the rule. According to Bowman, the rule is clear, concise and common knowledge to all coaches at Clemson University.

However, there is still much uncertainty to the whole situation. First, Swinney may or may not have actually run with Grant that next day. The Rankin article does not quote Coach Swinney about running with Grant, and Rankin could have mistaken what Coach Swinney was saying. For instance, maybe Coach Swinney meant that a trainer would be running with Grant the following day and Rankin misprinted that in his article. If Grant did do the running but did it with a trainer instead of Swinney, then there is no violation.

Second, there could be a gray area in that Grant was running and not working on "football skills" such as catching passes, running routes, blocking, etc. Whether or not the NCAA would constitute running as a football related workout is questionable. I interpreted Mrs. Bowman's comments to me as saying running with a football coach would not be permissible. However, I want to make clear that Mrs. Bowman did not specifically say that to me.

The next question would be the punishment for the violation, if it were indeed a violation. Is this a very big deal? Becky Bowman will be getting back to me later this afternoon with those answers. Stay tuned to CUTigers.com for any relevant information on the subject.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at scottrhymer@msn.com. Scott and CUTigers.com publisher Roy Philpott are the co-hosts of the CUTigers.com Pregame Show on WCCP 104.9 FM, which airs 2 hours prior to the Tiger Tailgate Show on Clemson Gamedays.

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