Arizona State gets probation for NCAA violations

April 19, 2024, 1:09 PM

The NCAA announced penalties for Arizona State and four former employees related to recruiting violations that occurred under former football coach Herm Edwards.

Arizona State received four years of probation, an undisclosed fine, vacated games in which ineligible players competed, reduced scholarships and recruiting restrictions. The NCAA did not provide further details about any of those punishments. The school also disassociated from a booster for five years.

The NCAA acknowledged the school had self-imposed a one-year bowl ban last season. The Sun Devils will be eligible for a bowl in 2024.

"Arizona State's cooperation throughout the investigation and processing of this case was exemplary, and the cooperation began with the leadership shown by the university president," said Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma and chief hearing officer for the NCAA committee on infractions panel. "The school's acceptance of responsibility and decision to self-impose meaningful core penalties is a model for all schools to follow and is consistent with the expectations of the NCAA's infractions program."

Edwards, who now works for ESPN, was fired after the Sun Devils went 1-2 to start the 2022 season. He was found to have committed a "responsibility violation," according to the NCAA.

The allegations first came to light three years ago, when a package of documents sent to the NCAA detailed several recruiting violations, including ignoring restrictions in place during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period. During this time, a mother of a player purchased travel accommodations for recruits to visit campus, staff members provided guided tours to roughly a dozen recruits when campus was closed to visitors and a coach worked out a player in a park.

The NCAA found Arizona State offered "recruiting inducements, impermissible tryouts and [committed] tampering."

No individuals were named by the NCAA, nor were their specific punishments provided.

"The individuals also agreed to or did not contest show-cause orders ranging from three to 10 years consistent with the Level I-aggravated classifications of their respective violations," the NCAA said.

The purported ringleader of the rule-breaking culture, former defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, left the program after the 2021 season and is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

"The COVID dead period rules were created not only for the sake of competitive equity but for the safety and well-being of prospective and enrolled student-athletes and their families," Arizona State president Michael Crow said. "ASU is disappointed and embarrassed by the actions of certain former football staff members who took advantage of a global pandemic to hide their behavior."

The punishment issued Friday by the NCAA does not mark the end of the line for the violations.

"Two individuals are contesting portions of their respective cases via written record hearing," the NCAA said. "After the written record hearing, the committee will release its full decision."

The NCAA and Arizona State said they will not comment further.