ATHENS — Georgia will have to report an NCAA secondary violation regarding its recruitment of Josh Harvey-Clemons. But as far as secondary violations go, they don’t get much more secondary than this one.
Jim Booz, UGA’s senior associate athletic director for compliance, confirmed to The AJC Thursday that coach Mark Richt ran afoul of NCAA bylaws when he commented on Harvey-Clemons shortly after the highly-touted prospect announced on national television his decision to sign with the Bulldogs on Wednesday. Harvey-Clemons’ signing ceremony at Lowndes High School in Valdosta was televised live by ESPN and the sports network also had a reporter and camera crew with Georgia coaches in Athens.
Shortly after Harvey-Clemons made his announcement in Valdosta, ESPN reporter Cara Capuano asked Richt for his reaction and for his thoughts on prospect’s athletic abilities. Turns out that violates NCAA bylaw 13.10.2, which states that no one from a member institution can comment on a prospective student-athlete until his or her signed letter-of-intent has been received. As has been well-documented now, Harvey-Clemons’ letter-of-intent was not received by UGA until Thursday morning.
“It is something we’re having to deal with,” Booz said. “It’s not a significant issue. It’s not one that’s going to impact any of the individuals involved. It’s going to be considered a Level II secondary violation. Because of how everything transpired yesterday — it was a very, very odd and very unique situation — it just kind of caught everybody off guard.”
Booz said Athletic Director Greg McGarity will send a letter to the Southeastern Conference informing them of the mistake. But he said was highly unlikely any enforcement would result.
“In my opinion there was certainly no advantage gained by any stretch from what transpired yesterday,” said Booz, who came to UGA from Virginia last month. “It is a violation of a technical nature. But the way we’re going to operate is, if something creeps up, even something like this, we’re going to comply and report violations to the SEC if necessary and do it the right way. It’s just one of those things.”
Richt was in Louisville Thursday to attend the Paul Hornung Award banquet honoring 2012 recipient for Georgia senior cornerback Brandon Boykin and could not be reached for comment.
For what it’s worth, here’s how the NCAA bylaw reads:
NCAA Bylaw 13.10.2: Comments Before Signing.
Before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete’s ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution’s team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete’s signing with that institution. Violations of this bylaw do not affect a prospective student-athlete’s eligibility and are considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1.