The NCAA has accepted Florida’s self-imposed penalties for a recruiting violation that was committed by former receivers coach Joker Phillips in January 2014. Florida was quick to act when they learned that Phillips had committed a violation. Phillips was taken off the road for 30 days and Florida ceased to recruit the prospect in question. Phillips, who was not mentioned by name in the report, resigned on June 11 after coaching just one year at Florida.
“The University of Florida Athletic Association takes pride in the culture of compliance it has built over the years,” Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said in a statement released by the UAA. “Integrity is one of the core values of our organization – we act in a fair, ethical and honest manner and we strive to do things the right way every day.
“That is why we took quick and decisive action after we learned of a recruiting contact rule violation involving one of our assistant football coaches in January 2014. We stopped recruiting the involved student-athlete, we removed the assistant coach from all recruiting activities, and later secured his resignation.”
Phillips was in violation of what is known as the “bump rule” by the NCAA. This is a Level II violation that occurs when a coach unexpectedly encounters a recruit and has impermissible contact. The NCAA ruled that the contact “resulted in the school receiving a recruiting advantage” and exceeded the” boundaries of permissible recruiting.”
The NCAA findings state that Phillips was in contact with a “recruiting service reporter” about a prospect who was going to “age out” (he would be too old to finish his senior year of high school due to FHSAA regulations) and that the prospects 7-on-7 coach was looking to help the prospect find a prep school to play at for his senior season. Phillips then flew to the area where the prospect attended school and followed the “recruiting service reporter” to the prospects school where Phillips “purposely placed himself into position to have contact with the prospect. They engaged in a conversation.”
This face-to-face meeting was impermissible because the recruit was a junior in high school at the time.
Due to Florida taking swift action, the NCAA ruled that there would be no further penalties levied towards the football program. The NCAA also found no evidence that Phillips was ordered by anyone else in the athletic offices to make the illegal “bump” with the recruit.
“We thank the NCAA Committee on Infractions for their thoughtful deliberation,” Foley said in the release. “We look forward to putting this issue behind us and we will continue to operate with the highest level of integrity and compliance.”