Georgia prematurely sent mail to at least a dozen junior prospects in August, days before the NCAA permitted mail correspondence between college football programs and members of the 2015 recruiting class. The Bulldogs have responded by suspending on-campus recruiting director Daryl Jones, reports Athens Banner-Herald writer Marc Weiszer.
Jones, who has held the position since May 2012, received a university-imposed five-day ban. It remains unclear when Jones' suspension is set to take place, but the Banner-Herald was informed it had yet to start prior to last Saturday's matchup with Missouri.
Georgia notified SEC commissioner Mike Slive about minor NCAA violations in a letter dated Sept. 30.
NCAA rules prohibit the sending of mail to junior recruits until Sept. 1. Weiszer reports that at least a dozen players accepted incoming letters from the program on Aug. 31.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity explained the series of events as a misunderstanding in his message to Slive. He described the situation in his report obtained by the Banner-Herald.
It was their assumption that the mail was dropped off at the post office late enough on Friday afternoon that it could not be delivered to the intended recipient prior to September 1. However, some of the prospective student-athletes did receive these mailing(s) on the very next day…
The commencement of "mailing season" is a long-awaited moment in recruiting offices across the country. It allows teams to establish steady contact with their next wave of top targets, with particular emphasis and enthusiasm toward top-tier players who've already received scholarship offers.
The NCAA allows high school student-athletes to be bombarded by a barrage of mail, but not until they say it can happen. As a result, Georgia overstepped its bounds, even if just by a day.
McGarity declined to specify if Jones will be compensated during the suspension.
The contents of Georgia's letter to recruits also required some scrutiny, according to McGarity's message to Slive. He cited an additional minor violation as a result of “labels on the outside of envelopes that contained more than the institutions logo in addition to the postage, return address and addressee information."
Stickers and labels featuring a new team logo, a Nike swoosh and television game broadcast information appeared on the outside of packages.
Upon self-reporting itself to the SEC, Georgia recommended these violations should receive a Level III label. On the NCAA violation scale, Level III issues are termed as a "breach of conduct" and aren't considered egregious.
How should the NCAA react to Georgia's self-reported violations?
The university's administration continued to take steps toward self-imposing strictness after the incident was brought to attention. The school has reportedly mandated that recruiting office employees must attend an NCAA rules seminar in 2014, while also limiting contact with the prospects who received early mail.
Recruits contacted on Aug. 31 will not receive mail for a 60-day period.
The program dealt with a recruiting infraction in 2011 regarding how the team handled coveted running back (and eventual Bulldog) Isaiah Crowell. The program committed a secondary violation of a rule that prohibits “game day simulation” with recruits.
As a result, the NCAA barred head coach Mark Richt from calling prospects and their families for the entire month of April. It remains to be seen if Richt faces any repercussions in this latest matter.
Georgia requested leniency from the SEC, including truncated bans on phone calls and off-campus contact, according to Weiszer. School administration will now wait for a formal response from the NCAA, SEC or both governing bodies.