It seems Cuonzo Martin had a valid reason for not contacting Jones, though. According to UT's compliance department, such contact during a so-called "dead period" would have violated NCAA rules. That's not a good idea, especially when your school just fired its entire coaching staff for violating NCAA rules.
Even after reading the NCAA rules regarding dead-period contact between coach and prospect several times, I had no idea how that rule applied to Jones and Kevin Ware, Tennessee's two November, 2010 signees. That's why I emailed several questions to the UT basketball office that were forwarded to the compliance department for clarification.
Below are the questions I asked, followed by the responses from the compliance office:
- Is a coach restricted from contacting a signee during a so-called "dead period" or does that apply only to unsigned prospects?
The only permissible contact with a signee during a dead period would be an unofficial on-campus visit. So, Chris Jones could technically make an unofficial visit here to campus during a dead period, and that would be permissible. No other form of contact with a signee during a dead period is permissible; even after they sign with a school, kids are still considered "prospects" until they actually enroll.
- If a signed player (i.e. Chris Jones) gets a release, do the "dead period" rules apply to him again?
Yes. If he gets a release, he goes back into the same category as all other prospects in his graduating class and the normal rules apply.
- Has UT released Kevin Ware and Chris Jones from the scholarships they signed in November?
Ware has been released. Jones has not been released.