Recruiting 2009: The year of the “secondary violation”

Just when you thought the shirtless wonders at Tennessee had cornered the market on the self-reported secondary recruiting violation, along comes G-Chiz to mount a challenge. And if you’re asking, “Isn’t this getting a little silly?”, the answer is … uh, yeah.

Background: Under the guidance of the boy wizard Lane Kiffin and his spiritual adviser Ed Orgeron, the Volunteers have reported four — count ‘em — “secondary recruiting violations” for sins ranging from the improper use of a fog machine to an overzealous Twitter Tweet. Not to be outdone, Auburn and Gene Chizik and his Limo Kings have apparently joined the fray.

Auburn hosted a group of rising seniors for what was known as Big Cat weekend. Amazingly enough, Big Cat weekend made big news in the loveliest village. According to Charles Goldberg of Al.com, the recruits wound up on Toomer’s Corner, where gleeful townspeople broke out the ceremonial toilet paper, which generally only happens after the Tigers win a big game, which they used to do periodically.

From Goldberg’s report: “Auburn athletic officials spent Monday reviewing last week’s Big Cat recruiting weekend to determine if any secondary rules violation may have occurred surrounding the traditional rolling of Toomer’s Corner, an event attended by visiting high school football players.”

Should "secondary violations" be penalized more heavily?

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See, you’re not supposed to publicize recruiting visits. (Every school winks at this one, but it’s a rule.) As Marcus Lattimore, a running back from South Carolina considered the nation’s No. 1 recruit, told Bryan McLaughlin of Sporting News Today: “Somehow it got out that we were all there.” Somehow?

From Andrew Gribble’s exhaustively detailed report in the Opelika-Auburn News: “Three Auburn recruiting-themed Web sites had information regarding the event posted on message boards sometime Saturday afternoon. Niffer’s Place, 1151 Opelika Rd., also publicized the gathering on its marquee.” Indeed, as Gribble notes, at least seven police officers “were called to the scene for a ’special assignment.’ ”

Even if Auburn does find itself guilty of — cough, cough — a “secondary violation” or two, there won’t be a penalty. The NCAA will just tell the school to try not to mess up again. But messing up and saying you’re sorry is now just another way of SEC life, and not necessarily an unprofitable way. (And Georgia is by no means immune: It just self-reported three secondary violations involving the football program.)

Example: Lattimore has just narrowed his field of prospective collegiate destinations to eight, according to McLaughlin, and guess which school made the cut. As Lattimore told SNT: “We definitely felt the love from Auburn.”

Imagine that. Or, better still, just watch this video.

76 comments Add your comment

db

June 2nd, 2009
11:45 am

Just a little school love. ;)

uga_b

June 2nd, 2009
11:52 am

Stakes are higher and coverage more widespread. Not sure the NCAA can stem the Tide. Pun intended.

JD

June 2nd, 2009
12:01 pm

Is Schultz on vacation or something? Haven’t heard from him in awhile and Bradley’s popping out two a day.

Ted Striker

June 2nd, 2009
12:12 pm

That was an intriguing video. Apart from the toilet paper (which I occasionally value) the crowd enthusiasm was striking. I’m 100% a UGA guy but kudos to Auburn students and fans for doing what they can to land top recruits.

And, Mark Bradley — stellar topic and writing — as usual.

George G.

June 2nd, 2009
12:13 pm

Bama fans have been circulating e-mails around that detail specific rules in the NCAA rule book. Unfortunately for them, none the rules actually prove that Auburn DIDN’T commit any violations. Reading comprehension has never been a strong point for Alabama fans

KevinInKsaw

June 2nd, 2009
12:15 pm

There weren’t any violations over the weekend. It’s nothing more than the Bama-Obsessed media in the state of Alabama showing their true colors, and trying to discredit what was a brilliant recruiting ploy.

The man making the introductions wasn’t connected to the University and no announcement was made by the school itself. Nothing to see here. Move on.

H.S. Coach

June 2nd, 2009
12:24 pm

KevinInKsaw,

Well, the fact that schools aren’t supposed to publicize that recruits are there and AU obviously did is a violation. A petty one, but a violation none the less.

KevinInKsaw

June 2nd, 2009
12:26 pm

H.S. Coach,

The school didn’t publicize recruits being there in any way, shape or form. Independent media outlets and businesses did, but the school obviously did not.

kage

June 2nd, 2009
12:36 pm

HS Coach – is it a violation to publicize who’s there at any time or just beforehand? I honestly don’t know, because it seems like every school publicizes what recruits are in town on any given weekend all the time. Rivals, Scout, etc. didn’t publicize it until Fri night, after most of the recruits had arrived, so if that’s a violation, then the rule should change(because everybody, i.e. teams Rivals/Scout pages do it) or they need to actually have a penalty for doing so, other than it being a “secondary violation,” where nothing happens. If they’re not going actually to penalize it, then why is it a violation, is my question.

Nick Sabear

June 2nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Lame…..

Alabama doesn’t need gimmicks like this to win.

P.S. anyone ever wonder why no one ever brings up the fact that Michigan State was named in the Albert Means case as one of the schools that was trying to buy him? I know, I know, I was there at that time, and everyone that knows of me knows I am a control freak that runs EVERY facet of my program(s) – but trust me… I knew nothing about that. While we’re at it why doesn’t anyone talk about how I left LSU in the midst of an academic fraud scandal that was masterfully swept under the rug and settled out of court? Oh well… All that matters now is that I am in CHARGER, … I mean charge and that all of the recruits in Southeast belong to me. No need to look any further than Gadsden or Mobile to see how my recruiting strategies work. Kids simply love me. And respect how much I care for them. It’s like a certain high profile recruit said last year at his presser…..”I would like to thank Alabama for all they have done for me and my family”

By the way….I don’t appreciate the tide “pun” uga_b. I know it looks like there where serious violations at each of my last two stops, but that is in the past. I know a reasonable person might assume that a coach that possibly broke major rules at his last two stops that is now with one of dirtiest programs of the last 10-15 years might be cheating again. But I promise my back to back number #1 recruiting classes are 100% legit.

Roll Tide
XOXO

Got 12?

June 2nd, 2009
12:41 pm

Although the Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend did not net a single verbal commitment, Auburn’s innovative recruiting methods coupled with 7 or 8 wins this year will net some of this big time recruits.

Shug

June 2nd, 2009
12:42 pm

Seem like some fine scholars – both present and future – in that crowd.

KevinInKsaw

June 2nd, 2009
12:43 pm

Nick Sabear,

You’re right, Alabama doesn’t need gimmicks. There payroll is a more than effective tool to lure recruits. Gonna have to find a new tool soon though, because that payroll is going to get slashed in a hurry!!!

thomas

June 2nd, 2009
12:46 pm

this is great, auburn brings out everything they can think of and alabama responds by getting a commitment from the best CB in the country, Demarcus Milliner (hasnt happened yet, but thursday is when he will announce) Lache said whats up saban wait till we get here. Hes in for a rude awakening. As long as Saban is at alabama, the barn will never be successful in recruiting.

Dutch

June 2nd, 2009
12:47 pm

That’s clearly Ted Roof making those announcements. Would recognize his voice anywhere.

Mark Bradley

June 2nd, 2009
12:47 pm

Thanks, Ted.

I seem to remember a crowd of UK fans greeting a player from Batavia, Ill., named Issel at Blue Grass Field when he arrived on his recruiting visit. Different sport, I know. Same principle, though.

Chuck

June 2nd, 2009
12:48 pm

One of the coaches, Trooper Taylor, was encouraging the crowd along. That’s not permissable. Someone was introducing the recruits (including their positions and hometowns) to the crowd. That’s not permissable.

There was more than one violation occurring there. Still, nothing will come from it.

Got 12?

June 2nd, 2009
12:48 pm

This article should be an invitation for Auburn fans to show enthusiasm for Auburn’s football future, instead they can only take shots at Bama. Even one the recruits mentions Saban in the video (and makes other derogatory comments not shown in the video).

Please be obsessed with your own football program.

Chuck

June 2nd, 2009
12:49 pm

One more thing. It’s obvious that SEC Recruiting and NASCAR have a lot in common. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

george

June 2nd, 2009
12:55 pm

Bradley you are an idiot and your bias towards UGA is so amazing. The AJC has gone downhill so much over the last year or so and you are just another example. To have a supposed journalist that is so biased towards uga is just plain pathetic. You and the rest of the bulldawg nation are just pissed that richt has not thought of any of the things chizck has thought of and that none of these guys were in Athens last weekend. Oh and dont act like UGA doesnt have any violations bc they have just as many if not more than the schools you listed above.

Red Clay Hound

June 2nd, 2009
12:55 pm

Good point Kage. If there is not a penalty for doing it, why even call it a secondary violation? Why not call it an “Oopps” or a “we shouldn’t have done this, but probably will do it again event”.

KevinInKsaw

June 2nd, 2009
12:56 pm

Dutch,

The man making the announcements was definitely not Ted Roof, nor was he connected with the University in any way. Nice try though. Your voice recognition skills are obviously lacking. Maybe a video with a higher quality than YouTube would be helpful???

Got 12?

June 2nd, 2009
12:59 pm

Again, I applaud the Auburn coaching staff on their effort and resourcefulness. Things appear to be looking up for Auburn. That’s fine because Bama’s success if not predicated on Auburn’s failure.

SEC Fan

June 2nd, 2009
1:00 pm

What is the big deal here? I remember Jeff Capel at a Duke event when he was in 12th grade, the whole place started a designed cheer for him. This is harmless what AU did, it is actually pretty cool, this should not be any violation-this is better than having boosters pay off high school coaches and players.

fishtales

June 2nd, 2009
1:10 pm

Brilliant recruiting ploy? Stop before I shoot anymore milk through my nose. Let’s check the results of the Barn’s “brilliant” recruiting ploys:

Recruits committing after Tiger Prowl prom outing: Zero
Recruits committing after throwing toilet paper into trees: Zero

Sheer brilliance down on the Plains…Saban should just hang it up since it’s obvious he’s being owned by Cheez-It.

tiger7_88

June 2nd, 2009
1:22 pm

Hey, fishtales… can you remind us all how binding recruiting “commits” in June are again?

oldmac

June 2nd, 2009
1:30 pm

Ok, so Bama had a good year (cept’ for those last two)-but, seems to me AU won 6 out of the last 7 agains (got sort of boring actually)-got some catching up to do before AU concedes the “modern era” to the Bammers. All that Bear stuff, that’s waaay too far in the past.
IJ

fishtales

June 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

Let me remind you Tigger…of course nothing is binding until signing day. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. Even more reason you clowns should have received a few non-binding verbals right? I mean…after all the excitement of throwing toilet paper dies down of course.

Pat "Lost My Pants" Dye

June 2nd, 2009
1:36 pm

Was that before or after the hayride? I know the tractor pull was AUsome!!

Outhouse

June 2nd, 2009
1:52 pm

When does cheapschtick have to have the limo back to the funeral home??

David

June 2nd, 2009
1:54 pm

How the hell does Bama get credit for this Auburn circus?
What the hell did we do?

Maggots can live off of dead bears too

June 2nd, 2009
1:56 pm

fishtales,

I’m not sure I get the tigger reference. Obviously he is a tiger too, but I dont quite see why that would be an insult or a put as you clearly were inteding it to be. Care to go a little deeper and explain that one for us?

U Gotta B Kidding Me

June 2nd, 2009
1:58 pm

I find it interesting that these recruits, from as far away as Texas, Conn., SC decided to all spend their own money to get themselves and family down to AU, pay for hotels, etc., all at the same time for the same weekend for an “unofficial” visit.

Gee, nothings going on at AU.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 2nd, 2009
2:02 pm

When it comes to football, the motto in the SEC is “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”.

kage

June 2nd, 2009
2:03 pm

And here come the bama fans to bring this discussion down to the level of a third grade lunch table.

Anyway, for those that think these recruiting tactics aren’t working, you’re just fooling yourself. Has anyone committed to Auburn because of them? No, but signing day isn’t until next Feb. Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not as if these coaches are just going to quit recruiting them now that they didn’t commit right away. Recruiting is all about building relationships and building trust with these kids, and this is one of the ways to do it, and it’s working. This is a brand new staff that has an uphill battle in the state, but they’re doing some new things to try to make it a little less of a climb. The top 2 ranked RB’s(per rivals) in the country have Auburn at the top of their list, and it seems Seastrunk isn’t exactly shy to let you know where he’s thinking about going. That’s never happened at Auburn(or any other school that I can think of) since recruiting services have been around, so yeah, I’d say what they are doing is working. Will they get every top player in the state? No. They never have and they never will, but it’s looking like this coaching staff has things going in a better direction than it has been for the last 2-3 years whether you want to accept that fact or not.

Atl Auburn Grad

June 2nd, 2009
2:04 pm

War Eagle! I’m glad Bama had a good year. I’m glad they have a respectable program. Embarrassing them year after year when they su#ked was a big yawn. REAL FOOTBALL FANS love competition! Win some, lose some, but either way, BRING IT!

fishtales

June 2nd, 2009
2:05 pm

It’s really not that deep maggot…but since you are a Barner I will try and dumb it down for you. Tigger wasn’t meant to be a big insult…just a small dig kinda like “Bammer”…which is about as original as the 20 year old Bear joke you’re still trying to get mileage off of. I’ll just stick to Barner from now on as to not confuse you.

Anyway, anything on topic?

JJ

June 2nd, 2009
2:07 pm

Will all you Bama fans get back to work and start preparing for the dinner crowd !!

uga_b

June 2nd, 2009
2:12 pm

There are degrees to secondary violations. Accidentally mentioning a player is completely forgiveable. Some of these stunts are less so, but to be fair, they may be a reality of this overhyped recruiting process. UGA has had secondary violations (and more) in the past as have every other institution. This week it was at Auburn, which does not in any way show bias by Mark in reporting that fact.

One thing I will say is that I believe rules about showing the passion of a fan base are kinda silly. That could be a big factor for the kid to make an informed decision. I am glad Auburn is having fun.

Nick Sabear

June 2nd, 2009
2:12 pm

Spot on U Gotta B Kidding Me !!!

Whats next? Are we going to hear someone explain how kids from the same hs that come from modest means are driving identicle brand new cars in AU colors. That would be crazy wouldnt it? Eh… noone is that stupid though.

My guess is that these AU recruits end up getting cushy “summer” jobs working for AU boosters, and end up committing to them down the road. I hear thats how handsome, intellegent, coaches on the 5′2″ to 5′6″ group like to do it. Who knows… its all speculation.

Just saying….

Maggots can live off of dead bears too

June 2nd, 2009
2:18 pm

fishtales,

On this topic…. no. But I would like to take this time to commend youguys for cleaning up your act. You havent had anyone pooped for selling narcotics out of the football complex in around a year. I assume the process is working.

Congrats on last year’s IB victory. Seriously, credit where credit is due.

PaulC

June 2nd, 2009
2:23 pm

This stuff is nothing compared to what is going on in Gainesville, Florida. 24 arrests of football players in only 4 years. A total and utter disgrace and Urban Meyer should be raked over the coals in the media for running a program full of felons. Hey Urbie, just remember when you decide to bolt to ND that God won’t put up with that stuff in South Bend. Meyer is going to get his soon. No way his team repeats as national champions, something is going to go very wrong for him this year, I can feel it.

Mark Bradley

June 2nd, 2009
2:32 pm

When I first came to the AJC, I covered Auburn a lot. And it’s refreshing to recall how good-spirited the banter between AU and UA fans can get.

Nachos Fan

June 2nd, 2009
2:36 pm

Ha! Stupid Neck Barner fans. What a joke!

Saban owns you and the Commodore 64 you are typing on.

Hollywould

June 2nd, 2009
2:48 pm

Saban owns you. What is Saban’s record against Auburn. Yeah, he won last year against the worst AU team in 20 years. I love what these coaches are doing. After Tubs quit recruiting and coaching AU sucked last year. We are coming back, you bammers know it and the streak will start again this year. All AU has to do is keep doing what they are doing. War Eagle!!!

george

June 2nd, 2009
3:01 pm

Paul UGA had 12 arrested just last year and Bama had 9 so what is your point???

kage

June 2nd, 2009
3:18 pm

The only Auburn player that was arrested in the past 3 years that I can think of was King Dunlap, and that was for not paying a speeding ticket. Say what you will about Tuberville, but he ran a very tight ship when it came to off the field issues.

The only ones I can think of before that were Tray Blackmon for a minor possesion of alchohol and Kevin Sears for a DUI, both in 2006.

U Gotta B Kidding Me

June 2nd, 2009
3:36 pm

Can anyone tell me who paid all the travel costs for this “unofficial” visit to the plains? And don’t feed me this garbage that the families did because there isn’t any way, besides through cheating that these families paid for gas, hotel, food, just to come visit AU.

CrimsonRedScarlett

June 2nd, 2009
3:38 pm

Two questions for Mark. Has any school ever been penalized for a certain number of secondary violations? Do you think that the NCAA sill say anything about USC this year?

kage

June 2nd, 2009
3:41 pm

“And don’t feed me this garbage that the families did because there isn’t any way, besides through cheating that these families paid for gas, hotel, food, just to come visit AU.”

And you know this because…? You know what happens when you assume right?