LSU struck with NCAA penalties for violating recruiting rules during the pandemic

LSU was hit with NCAA penalties on Thursday, but they weren’t related to the scandal involving former basketball manager Will Wade.

Instead, the case involves former assistant football manager James Cregg, who was fired in June 2021. Cregg, who served as the Tigers’ offensive line manager, met with a rookie during the NCAA-imposed downtime during the pandemic. of COVID-19, according to the NCAA.

In addition to Cregg, a former deputy director of recruitment for LSU separately met with the prospect during that dead time. Both “provided the prospect with inadmissible recruitment incentives,” according to the NCAA.

As a result, LSU was hit with one year of probation, a $ 5,000 fine, and a series of penalties for recruiting for the soccer program. These include a limit on official visits to 55, a one-week ban on unofficial visits, a one-week ban on recruiting communications, and a seven-day reduction in evaluation days.

Additionally, Cregg received a three-year fine for show lawsuit from the NCAA.

Cregg served as LSU’s offensive line manager for three seasons, including the Tigers National Championship season in 2019 under former head coach Ed Orgeron. He is currently assistant line manager for the San Francisco 49ers.

LSU, now in its first season under Brian Kelly, started with a 2-1 draw this season.

LSU’s football program was penalized by the NCAA for unauthorized contact with recruits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (AP Photo / Jonathan Bachman)

LSU violated recruiting rules during the pandemic

Problems arose for LSU when a rookie’s mother brought 14 prospective clients to the LSU campus in September 2020. According to the NCAA, the football staff were aware that the group was visiting but were briefed by staff in charge of the LSU. compliance that they could not have in person contact with the recruiters.

A rookie’s mother had planned to move to the Baton Rouge area if her son chose to play for LSU, so she asked about “potential neighborhoods to visit.” According to the NCAA, Cregg recommended several neighborhoods, including the one he lived in, and made arrangements to “greet his prospect and his family as they drove through the neighborhood.” Cregg also “provided the prospect with a bag of used LSU equipment” from his home. Saying goodbye to family violated dead time rules while equipping the recruit violated NCAA’s rules on recruiting incentives.

A week later, the recruit and her family were back on the LSU campus. During that visit, the former LSU Deputy Director of Recruiting “took the prospect and his girlfriend from their hotel and took them to the stadium for a tour.” The Deputy Recruiting Director later “returned to the prospect’s hotel and delivered several items of used LSU equipment to the prospect.”

Anything that violated contact rules and free transportation and equipment are also considered an incentive by NCAA rules.

During the second visit, the prospect and his family also met with Cregg and had a “short conversation” outside the home.

According to the NCAA, both the coach and assistant recruiting director “acknowledged that they knew their conduct was inadmissible.”

In a statement, the NCAA Division I Infringement Committee Committee acknowledged that these violations were not overly serious, but the fact that they occurred during the dead period of COVID-19 “should be a cause for concern” for members. of the NCAA.

“Although the [committee] found more egregious behavior in past cases, the violations in this case represent intentional misconduct that should worry members, “the panel said in its decision.” The COVID-19 recruitment deadline was intended to protect health and the safety of prospects, student-athletes and institutional staff. It also leveled the playing field for recruiting at a time when government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions varied across the country. “

Cregg involved in a lawsuit with LSU

Last month, a Baton Rouge judge ruled that LSU must pay Cregg the remaining salary owed on his contract, a sum of $ 492,945.20. The ruling came after Cregg filed a lawsuit arguing that his termination for just cause by LSU was unlawful.

According to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, Cregg’s lawsuit acknowledged that the coach told an NCAA law enforcement official that he “met and delivered team equipment to a potential client during COVID recruitment deadline. “.

After the August ruling was handed down, LSU said in a statement that it intended to appeal the decision.

From the daily advertiser:

“We are clearly disappointed with the court ruling. A coach admitted to the NCAA under oath that he contacted and provided athletic clothing to a recruit despite being advised by compliance personnel of an existing no-contact period with recruits, “the statement said.” We had the right and the right to do so. contractual obligation to terminate this manager’s contract. Unfortunately, the court of first instance didn’t see it the same way. We intend to challenge this decision ”.

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