NCAA puts LSU football on probation, accepts self-imposed penalties for recruiting violations


r80341 576x324 16 9 NCAA puts LSU football on probation, accepts self-imposed penalties for recruiting violations

The NCAA placed LSU’s football program on one-year probation and issued a three-year program citation against a former assistant coach who admitted meeting a prospect during the Covid-19 recruiting deadlock and giving him team gear.

The Tigers said they fired offensive line coach James Gregg for cause in June 2021 after he admitted to violating NCAA rules. On Aug. 25, a Louisiana judge awarded him nearly $500,000 after ruling that LSU terminated his contract without cause. At the time, the university said it planned to appeal the judge’s decision.

In addition to the probation, LSU already imposed a $5,000 fine, a one-week ban on recruiting communications and unofficial visits, and reduced official visits and evaluation days.

“Although [committee] Having faced such egregious conduct in the past, the violations in this case represent intentional misconduct that should be of concern to members,” the NCAA Infractions Committee said in its decision. “The intent is to protect the COVID-19 recruiting dead period. Health and safety of prospects, student-athletes and institutional employees. This has leveled the playing field for recruitment at a time when government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions vary across the country.”

According to the NCAA violations report, in September 2020, the mother-to-be organized a group of 14 people to make an informal visit to LSU’s campus as permitted under NCAA rules. LSU officials met with football coaches, including Gregg, “emphasizing that the staff cannot have any in-person contact with recruits.”

The NCAA report said the prospect’s mother plans to move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, if her son attends LSU. She asked for recommendations on possible neighborhoods to visit.

“The former assistant coach suggested multiple neighborhoods, including his own, gave directions to his neighborhood, and arranged to greet Prospect and his family as they drove through the neighborhood, thereby violating dead time rules,” the NCAA statement said. “During that meeting with the prospect and his family, the assistant coach gave him a bag of used LSU gear he had collected from his home prior to his departure, in violation of NCAA rules prohibiting recruiting inducements.”

The following weekend, according to the NCAA report, an assistant recruiting director picked up Prospect and his girlfriend from a hotel and took them to Tiger Stadium for a picnic. The NCAA statement said, “Prospect and his family drove back through the former assistant coach’s neighborhood. While stopping outside his home to meet with the family for a brief conversation, the assistant coach made contact with the prospect’s mother — another violation of the NCAA’s rules on in-person contact during the passing of time.” “

The NCAA said the assistant director of recruiting later returned to Prospect’s hotel and gave him used LSU gear. The NCAA said the assistant director of recruiting violated NCAA rules regarding in-person contact during the time of his death, non-coaching staff and countable coaches rules due to off-campus recruiting with impermissible benefits.

Gregg’s violation case is not part of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into LSU’s football and men’s basketball programs, which are being adjudicated through the independent accountability determination process.

On March 8, the University was notified of the alleged violation of 8 Level I rules. Seven have reportedly been linked to the men’s basketball program. One of them specifically relates to football, and the two sports share allegations that it “failed to exercise institutional control and monitor the conduct and management of its football and men’s basketball programs.”

There were two Level II charges — one for football and one for basketball — and one Level III for football.

The Tigers fired men’s basketball coach Will Wade on March 12. He was charged with five Level I violations and one Level II violation.

According to documents obtained by ESPN in August 2020, NCAA enforcement staff received information that Wade “arranged, provided and/or provided impermissible payments, including cash transfers, to at least 11 men’s basketball prospective student-athletes, their family members, and individuals.” Associated with prospects and/or non-academic coaches in exchange for admission to LSU.”

LSU’s football program was charged with three violations, including that a Tigers booster embezzled more than $500,000 from a hospital foundation and paid some of the stolen money to the parents of two former LSU football players.

The Tigers were charged with a second-degree violation involving NFL free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a former LSU star in the 2020 Football Playoff National Championship in January.

Now an assistant offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Gregg helped lead the Tigers to the College Football Playoff national title in 2019. His unit won the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line in the FBS that season.

ESPN senior writer Pete Thamel contributed to this report.


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