A Florida State assistant football coach violated NCAA rules when he facilitated an impermissible recruiting connection between a transfer prospect and a promotion, according to the Division I Committee on Violations Agreement. During that contact, the booster promoted the offer to attend Florida State and offered a name, picture and similar contract as a recruiting incentive. The assistant coach later violated the code of ethical conduct when he provided false or misleading information about his involvement in the organized meeting.
The school, assistant coach and enforcement staff admitted the violation occurred after a prospective transfer student-athlete entered the NCAA transfer portal and contacted the assistant coach to arrange an official visit to Florida State. During that visit, the assistant coach took the prospect and his parents to an off-campus meeting with a booster, who at the time was the CEO of a NIL conglomerate and was also a booster. Prospect and his parents said they were told they were meeting with assistant coach Booster. The coach did not stay at the meeting.
During the meeting, Booster promoted her offer to enroll at Florida State and offered her a NIL offer worth about $15,000 per month during her first year at the school. After the meeting, the promoter contacted the prospect and the prospect's mother via text message and/or phone call. After a while, the prospect removed his name from the transfer portal and remained at his previous school. The prospect has not entered into a contract with the promoter or received any related compensation.
School and enforcement officials acknowledged the meeting with Booster violated several recruiting rules. Specifically, the crowd constituted impermissible recruiting contact because boosters were not authorized recruiters and generally could not interact with prospects in person, off-campus. Booster also violated recruiting rules when he began contacting the prospect and his mother on the phone. Additionally, the booster's proposed NIL opportunity created an impermissible recruiting incentive.
The school, the enforcement staff and the assistant coach also admitted during the enforcement staff's investigation that the assistant coach violated the Code of Unethical Conduct. Specifically, on two occasions, he refused to facilitate a meeting between the booster, the prospect and the prospect's family. However, the assistant coach was truthful about aspects of the violations, including acknowledging his role in transporting the prospect and his parents to where they met with Booster. Although providing false and misleading information has historically supported a Level I violation, the unique facts and circumstances of this case supported a Level II violation.
The case was settled through negotiations. This process was used instead of a formal investigation or summary action because the university, enforcement personnel and assistant coach agreed on violations and penalties. The Division I Committee on Violations reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the association and whether the penalties agreed upon were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set precedent for other infringement cases.
The university, enforcement staff, and assistant coach agreed to Tier II-standard penalties for the university and Tier II-enhanced penalties for the assistant coach, using the thresholds identified by the Division I member-authorized violation penalty guidelines. The decision contains the full list of penalties authorized by the Committee for violations:
- Two years trial period.
- A two-year show cause order for the assistant coach, a suspension from the next three regular season games, a two-week restriction on recruiting communications and required attendance at an NCAA regional rules seminar.
- A restriction from off-campus recruiting for an assistant coach in the fall of 2023.
- Three years withdrawal from booster.
- A year's departure from the nest.
- A fine of $5,000 and 1% of the football budget.
- A 5% reduction in football scholarships during a two-year trial period, for a total of five scholarships.
- Official (paid) attendance in the football program has been reduced to seven for the 2023-24 academic year. The school will not replace six unused official visits beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
- A reduction in football recruiting communications for a total of six weeks for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.
- A reduction in the number of individual recruitment days for the 2023-24 academic year by six assessment days in the fall of 2023 and 18 days in the spring of 2024.
Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. Members of the panel that reviewed the case were the panel's chief investigative officer and Army West Point's executive associate athletic director and senior women's administrator, Tricia Turley Brandenburg. Stephen Madwa, a lawyer in private practice; and Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Big East Conference.