ATHENS – Mark Richt returned a missed telephone call, thinking the number belonged to the mother of an East Hall High School football player Georgia is recruiting.
Instead, the number belonged to a younger football player at North Hall High School.
So what, you ask?
So the mistake constituted an NCAA secondary violation that resulted in Richt being banned from calling recruits for a week last September.
This glimpse into the minutiae — some would say silliness — of the NCAA rulebook was revealed in 40 pages of documents released Tuesday by UGA in response to an open-records request from the AJC.
The documents show that Georgia reported 14 secondary violations of NCAA rules in eight sports in the last six months of 2010. (Secondary violations are defined as inadvertent rule-breaking that does not result in a significant competitive advantage. ) Richt’s phone call was typical of Georgia’s self-reported minor violations.
Here’s how it occurred, according to a Sept. 3 letter from UGA athletic director Greg McGarity to SEC commissioner Mike Slive:
… On Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 . . . Coach Richt was on a call with a another prospective student-athlete (PSA) when he missed a call from a senior PSA’s mother (Mr. Sterling Bailey from East Hall High School in Georgia). The mother’s cell phone had a 678 area code. While he was checking the voicemail left by Ms. Bailey, Coach Richt missed another call from a 678 area code. After he listened to Ms. Bailey’s message, Coach Richt hit the send button for what he thought was Ms. Bailey. When a male’s voice answered the phone, Coach Richt was surprised and asked if it was Sterling, thinking he was calling Ms. Bailey and [her son] answered; however, the person answering the phone told him he had the wrong number. When Coach asked who it was, the individual said it was C.J. Curry (a junior PSA from North Hall High School in Georgia). Once Coach Richt realized who it was, he ended the call and self-reported the violation to the Compliance Office.
The NCAA determined that a violation, indeed, occurred because Richt’s call to Curry was placed prior to Sept. 1 of Curry’s senior year of high school, “which is contrary to the provisions of Bylaws 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.2.” The SEC and NCAA accepted Georgia’s proposed penalties: Richt was not allowed to call any recruits for a period of one week, and Georgia was banned from sending any general correspondence to Curry for 30 days and staff members will be banned from contacting him for the first 30 days after he otherwise could be contacted.
Both Bailey and Curry have verbally committed to Georgia, Bailey for the 2011 signing class and Curry for 2012.
Other secondary violations revealed in the documents released Tuesday include:
– Tim Tucker, UGA blog