ATHENS — Inadvertent telephone communication once again has forced UGA to report secondary NCAA violations to the Southeastern Conference office.
This time it involves Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon. According to Athletic Director Greg McGarity’s Aug. 1 letter to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, obtained by the AJC via state and federal open records laws, McClendon thought he was calling a friend named Jay Harris when he accidentally called recruiting prospect Drew Harris instead. Harris is a four-star running back prospect from Exton, Penn.
What made this a violation is McClendon’s call was made on May 29, 2011. Fellow UGA assistant coach Scott Lakatos had made a recruiting call to Harris on May 3. Therefore the second call was deemed to be a violation of two NCAA bylaws that restrict telephone contact with recruits.
According to UGA’s report, “Jay Harris” appears right below “Drew Harris” in the speed dial directory in McClendon’s cell phone and he accidently hit the wrong entry. McClendon didn’t realize he’d called Drew Harris until his voicemail picked up. McClendon then left Drew Harris a message stating he had inadvertently dialed him and to not call back. McClendon then self-reported the violation to UGA’s compliance office, according to McGarity. Records show the call lasted 47 seconds.
UGA has requested relief from the mandatory two-week phone call ban to Harris and asked the SEC to not assess any penalties “given the mitigating circumstances” and because “no recruiting advantage was gained.” The SEC has not reviewed the case.
Inadvertent phone calls have been a problem for UGA athletics in 2011. The school has had to report more than a half-dozen incidents of “pocket-dialing” and sending impermissible texts rather than permissible emails due to cell-phone usage mistakes this year.
UGA also reported this week that gymnastics assistant coach Julie Clark violated NCAA phone contact bylaws when she called an unsigned prospect Brandie Jay to wish her “Happy Valentines Day” on Feb. 14.