UW Football Coach Rick Neuheisel reprimanded

INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has reduced the number of football scholarships, imposed recruiting restrictions and placed the University of Colorado on probation for two years for violations in the university's football program. They also took steps to reduce Washington's recruiting practices as well.

Former Colorado head football coach Rick Neuheisel, now the head coach at Washington, is prohibited from any off-campus recruiting activities at his current institution from October 8, 2002, to May 31, 2003. If he fails to comply, Washington would be required to show cause why it should not be penalized.

The violations at Colorado involved impermissible recruiting contacts beginning with the 1995-96 academic year and concluding in the 1998-99 academic year. The committee also found violations involving the provision of clothing to recruits, contacts with an athletics representative, excessive reimbursement of travel expenses for recruits and improprieties involving recruiting entertainment expenses.

Colorado was found to have failed to adequately monitor the recruiting practices of its former football staff. In its public report, the Infractions Committee said "this was a serious case in which a football coaching staff, led by the former head football coach, in a calculated attempt to gain a recruiting advantage, pushed beyond the permissible bounds of legislation, resulting in a pattern of recruiting violations."

The report noted that the pattern of violations caused the case to rise to the "major" level. A significant number of the findings involved contact with prospects, or "bumping," during non-contact periods in the Spring when only evaluation is permitted. "When viewed separately," the committee's report said, "each of these contacts might be considered secondary; however, taken cumulatively, they reach the level of a major violation."

In its public report, the committee said it was taking "this opportunity to send an unequivocal message that the custom of 'bumping' prospects during non-contact periods is a violation of NCAA rules no matter how widespread the practice, and coaches who continue to do so will be held accountable for their actions."

Although Neuheisel characterized the encounters as "inadvertent" since often times the high-school coach initiated them, the committee found that, "there was little indication of any attempt to discourage such contacts from occurring."

Neuheisel had already place a self-imposed a limitation on his own off-campus recruiting activities during the May 2002 evaluation period and indicated that he would also refrain from all off-campus recruiting during the May 2003 evaluation period. While the committee recognized the significance of this self-imposed penalty, the committee determined that because of the number and nature of the recruiting violations committed by the former CU head coach, his off-campus recruiting ban should be extended to May 31, 2003.

With no in-home visits permitted by Neuheisel to recruits, he will have to close the deal when recruits visit the UW campus. A lot of commits occur during these visits but coaches typically do in-home follow up visits to ensure the commitments are retained.

Washington will be forced to do that with assistant coaches this year, unless the University of Washington appeals this penalty. That is more difficult than it sounds, and may require the Huskies to reduce their scope of recruiting and focus harder on the in-state recruits this year.

Dawgman.com Top Stories