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Arizona State might have run afoul of NCAA recruiting dead period during COVID-19

There are allegations of the Sun Devils hosting prospects during the pandemic. But how big a deal is that?

Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards walks off the field after the game against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Arizona State 28-27. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils are under investigation from the NCAA regarding potential violations within the football program.

But if this is found to be true... how big a deal is it really?

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg has the details:

Sources told ESPN that part of the NCAA’s investigation involves Arizona State hosting prospects during the recruiting dead period, which lasted from March 2020 to June 1, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic. FBS programs were prohibited from having recruits on campus during the dead period.

Several sources in the Pac-12 told ESPN that ASU also faces allegations about recruiting practices that occurred when the dead period ended, including possible improper contact with prospects at an off-campus recruiting camp earlier this month.

Whether or not the Sun Devils have received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA is unknown at this point, but let’s extrapolate a bit here.

There’s about a 0.0% chance anyone in the ASU compliance office would allow the football team to do paid visits for PSA’s (prospective student-athletes in NCAA parlance) during the dead period. You could be the most incompetent, corrupt compliance office in America and that’s not going to happen. So the kids that made it to campus likely came out-of-pocket for a visit.

Was this a banned practice by the NCAA due to the coronavirus? Yes.

But if you’re an assistant coach or director of player personnel, are you telling a kid that ponied up to be there he can’t have a tour of the team facilities if he shows up? No chance.

Now if assistant coaches were paying for kids to come to campus, or coordinating with boosters to make sure those expenses were covered, that’s a problem. But that hasn’t been alleged as of yet.

At this point we’re deeply in slap-on-the-wrist territory. But of course once the NCAA gets in your kitchen, it’s like the IRS during an audit in that they can go anywhere they want and start finding other issues.

We’ll see if anything serious develops from this.