Calling Mo'Ne Davis Got UConn Coach Geno Auriemma In Huge Trouble
Pretty much everyone is impressed by the star that is Mo'Ne Davis, the first female pitcher to win a Little League World Series game. But apparently not everyone's allowed to commend her: According to the NCAA, University of Connecticut's women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma broke the rules by calling Davis to congratulate her last month. Which just goes to show what a hot prize the pitcher is.
Here's how it went down: Nearly a month ago, Davis became a household name after she beat Nashville's team 4-0 in the Little League World Series. Overnight, she became a sensation. Suddenly, she was on the cover of magazines and being heckled by Fox News. At one point, someone from the Philadelphia 76ers organization reportedly suggested to Auriemma that he call the 13-year-old to say congratulations. So he did. For about two minutes.
According to Auriemma, there was absolutely no recruiting in the phone call. He reminded her that people should be treating her like a baseball player, and “not like, oh, look at this girl playing baseball,” and told her how impressed he was with how she'd handled the pressure of the games. Basically, all he wanted to do was praise her win.
“I want to say congratulations. I say congratulations,” Auriemma said, according to CBS. “She is 13 and the conversation lasts about two minutes and she hangs up. How about a school turned us in as a recruiting violation because we are not allowed to talk to her until July 1 of her junior year?”
But someone — an anonymous someone — wasn't too pleased about the call. An unknown member school filed a complaint against Auriemma, accusing the coach of violating recruiting rules. And the NCAA apparently agreed, slapping Auriemma with a secondary violation (which by definition means it's "inadvertent in nature"). Nothing much will likely happen because of it — according to the AP, the usual response is just a letter and some rules education, although they might ban contact between Auriemma and Davis for a set period of time.
Said UConn in a statement:
Prior to attempting to reach Davis, Coach Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department and was advised such a call would be permissible since Davis is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.
While UConn will continue to adhere to the NCAA and conference rules, I believe that upon request from a friend to Geno, a proud Philadelphian, to call a young lady representing the City of Brotherly Love who had accomplished historic feats in the Little League World Series, should not constitute a violation especially due to the fact that NCAA rules do not classify Mo'ne as a prospective student-athlete.
Rather than revealing Auriemma's sly recruiting practices, the NCAA's decision seems to reflect Mo'Ne's high stature in the professional sporting world — even though she's too young to be considered a prospective student-athlete, there's clearly tension around who's going to nab the star first. The issue also of course highlights the nature of these policies: As the Los Angeles Times points out, the NCAA's recruiting rules range from arbitrary to downright absurd. One incident of "violation" involved an accidental pocket-dial, another involved showing a recruit highlights on a ribbon board, when they only allow scoreboards.
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