Florida State39s football program experiences NIL related recruiting violation NCAAorg

Florida State's football program experiences NIL-related recruiting violation – NCAA.org

Story links

  • Download Florida State University's January 2024 Bargaining Resolution

According to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions, a Florida State assistant football coach violated NCAA rules when he facilitated improper recruiting contact between a transfer prospect and a transfer prospect. During this contact, the booster encouraged the prospect to enroll at Florida State and offered a name, image and likeness contract as an incentive for recruiting. The assistant coach then violated ethical codes of conduct when he provided false or misleading information about his involvement in the arranged meeting.

The school, assistant coach and law enforcement personnel agreed that the violation occurred after a potential transfer athlete entered the NCAA transfer portal and communicated with the assistant coach to arrange an official visit to Florida State. During this visit, the assistant coach accompanied the prospect and his parents to and from an off-campus meeting with a sponsor who was, at the time, executive director of an NIL collective that was also a sponsor. The prospect and his parents said the assistant coach told them they would be meeting with the newcomer. The coach didn't stay for the meeting.

During the meeting, the sponsor encouraged the prospect to enroll at Florida State and offered him an NIL opportunity with the collective worth approximately $15,000 per month during his first year at the school. After the meeting, the booster contacted the prospect and their mother via text message and/or phone call. Shortly thereafter, the prospect withdrew his name from the transfer portal and remained at his previous school. The interested party has not made an agreement with the booster and has not received any corresponding compensation.

School and correctional staff agreed that the meeting with the warden violated several recruiting rules. Specifically, the meeting was an impermissible recruiting contact because boosters are not authorized recruiters and typically cannot have personal contact with prospects off campus. The booster also violated recruiting rules when he initiated telephone communication with the prospect and his mother. Additionally, the booster's proposed NIL opportunity represented an improper recruiting incentive.

The school, law enforcement staff and the assistant coach also agreed that during the corrections staff investigation, the assistant coach violated unethical codes of conduct when he knowingly provided false or misleading information about his knowledge of and involvement in the violations . In particular, he twice denied facilitating the meeting between the booster, the prospect and the prospect's family. However, the assistant coach spoke truthfully about certain points of the violations and also admitted that he had taken the prospect and his parents to the place where they met with the newcomer. Although providing false and misleading information has supported a Level I violation in the past, the particular facts and circumstances of this case support a Level II violation.

This case was handled through the negotiated procedure. The process was used in lieu of a formal hearing or summary adjudication because the university, law enforcement staff and the assistant coach agreed on the violations and penalties. The Division I Infractions Committee panel reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interest of the association and whether the agreed upon penalties were appropriate. Negotiated decisions cannot be appealed and do not set a precedent for other cases of violations.

The university, law enforcement staff and the assistant coach utilized the ranges set forth in the Division I membership-approved Penalty Guidelines for Infractions to focus on standard Level II penalties for the university and enhanced Level II penalties for the assistant coach to agree. The decision contains the full list of penalties approved by the Violations Committee, including:

  • Two years probation.
  • The assistant coach was placed on a two-year exhibition cache that included a suspension for the next three regular-season games, a two-week restriction on recruiting communications and required attendance at an NCAA regional rules seminar.
  • A restriction on off-campus recruiting in the fall of 2023 for the assistant coach.
  • A three-year separation from the booster.
  • A year-long separation from the collective.
  • A fine of $5,000 plus 1% of the football budget.
  • A 5% reduction in football scholarships during the two-year probationary period, for a total reduction of five scholarships.
  • A reduction in official (paid) visits to the football program by seven in the 2023-24 academic year. The school also will not renew six unused official visits from the 2022-23 school year.
  • A reduction in football recruiting communications for a total of six weeks during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.
  • A reduction in the number of in-person recruiting days in the 2023-24 academic year by six evaluation days in fall 2023 and 18 in spring 2024.

The Infractions Committee membership is comprised of members of the NCAA and the public. The panel members who reviewed this case are Tricia Turley Brandenburg, senior panel hearing officer and associate athletics director and senior administrator at Army West Point; Stephen Madva, attorney in private practice; and Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Big East Conference.