Secondary violations: Punishment should fit crime


During a college sports roundtable that aired on ESPN, former Florida coach Urban Meyer proposed that “willful” secondary violations should result in a coach being suspended for at least one game.

It was a strong statement. And it made me think to look back to the four secondary violations that the Florida football program committed under Meyer’s leadership between 2009 and 2010.

One violation involved impermissible protective gear, a minor offense. But three involved posting messages on a recruits Facebook page, and one was reported by a whistle-blower from a rival SEC school. Those three violations provided direct recruiting advantages to Florida.

Of course, Florida could have appealed whether those mistakes were “willful.” But under Meyer’s proposal. it would have resulted in his suspension of at least one game, possibly more.

In basketball, under Meyer’s proposal, Florida coach Billy Donovan would have been suspended at least once for allowing recruits to speak to former players on the phone. An unnamed assistant on Donovan’s staff also would have been suspended for the “bump rule” which involves having contact with a recruit during the July evaluation non-contact period.

UF compliance director Jamie McCloskey even admitted in an article by the Sun’s Robbie Andreu that Florida probably led the SEC in secondary violations.

Bottom line, coaches are going to test the margins of the rulebook. Several college basketball coaches, including Donovan, have told me “sometimes, as coaches, we’re our own worst enemy.” To suggest that minor violations, including those that result in recruiting advantages, should result in coaching suspensions is a little harsh. Given the major scandals at Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina and Tennessee, the NCAA has more pressing matters to worry about.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I happen to agree with Meyer. Any “willful” violation should warrant a suspension and the appropriate percentage of their salary. That would certainly slow them down quite a bit, don’t ya think? As Gator fans, we all want to win but even more, we want to do it the RIGHT WAY!

  2. That is really misleading to say McCloskey implied we led the league in secondary violations. He said we led the league in reporting because we err on the side of over-reporting. He also implied that other schools have many more violations, but don’t report them.

    When you distort the facts to make your story more entertaining, I believe that’s called yellow journalism and is generally viewed in a negative light.

  3. I think these so called secondary violations are the type of rules the current NCAA President is trying to remove or at least de-emphasize from the current rule structure. While NCAA investigators are chasing down illegal Facebook posting, they can’t seem to locate the big cash payments not to mention the hookers.