Diving deeper into the supposed dismissal of wide receivers coach Joker Phillips by the Florida Gators, John Infante of the Bylaw Blog looked at how Phillips’s alleged NCAA recruiting violation may affect the program and head coach Will Muschamp.
After Florida announced Phillips’s resignation on Friday, a report from Yahoo! Sports cited three sources as saying Phillips was forced to leave the program after the Gators got word that the NCAA had proof he committed a recruiting violation.
The organization supposedly received “a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting” from “an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes program.”
Yahoo! Sports writers Charles Robinson and Pat Forde noted that Phillips’s alleged improper contact “could be considered a major NCAA violation,” a notion that Infante examined more closely on Monday.
Using the NCAA’s new enforcement structure, Infante boiled the incident down to a Level II or Level III breach of conduct, the former being more severe or “significant.”
A Level III violation must be “isolated or inadvertent in nature” while providing “only a minimal recruiting, competitive, or other advantage, or provide no more than a minimal impermissible benefit.”
Such a violation would move to Level II if it exceeded either of those rules, though “in-person, off-campus contacts during a dead period” is listed under a list of Level III violations released by the NCAA, effective Aug. 1, 2013.
Whether Phillips is found to have committed a violation at either level, he and Muschamp could both face penalties that go as far as suspensions handed down by the NCAA.
Infante believes that “Florida’s vaunted reputation for compliance” and quick action in dismissing Phillips will allow the Gators to be tagged with a Level III violation while Phillips gets dealt an individual Level II violation, if said violation is deemed to have occurred.
Muschamp should also be able to avoid suspension as long as he proves “that he monitored his program effectively and that he has promoted an atmosphere of compliance,” another reason the quick Phillips dismissal could benefit Florida.