Texas A&M football placed on probation after NCAA violations

Courtesy Texas A&M athletics

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Texas A&M football was placed on a yearlong probation and hit with several other penalties by the NCAA on Thursday regarding violations that occurred between January 2018 and February 2019. 

The separate violations came in the arena of recruiting and countable activity hours. Head coach Jimbo Fisher was personally named for violating the NCAA head coach responsibility rules. 

"As Texas A&M's head football coach, I am responsible for promoting and monitoring for NCAA compliance in our program," Fisher said in a statement. "While I am disappointed in the violations, including an unintended one that resulted from a conversation with a high school athlete, it is still my responsibility to ensure we are adhering to each and every rule.

"I am pleased to have this matter completely behind our program and look forward to continuing our efforts to make every aspect of our program one all Aggies can continue to be proud of." 

The recruiting violations surround an impermissible in-person recruiting meeting with an unidentified prospect before the completion of his junior year of high school. Fisher and former running back coach Jay Graham both took part in the meeting.

The workout violations occurred in the spring and summer. The program went over the allotted countable weekly hours in seven of 21 weeks of camp by asking players to show up early. The overages ranged from two hours to just 13 minutes. 

For the Level-II violations, Fisher and Graham were nailed with a six-month show-cause order, which included limits on contact with recruits between December 2019 and January 2020, along with a ban on off-campus recruiting activities during the fall 2020 contact period. Graham left over the offseason to take a job at Tennessee, where he will fulfill his show-cause order through the end of 2020.

Several of the penalties – which were agreed to by both the university and NCAA – have already been served. The Aggies received one year of probation for the infractions – which will be served between July 2, 2020 and July 1, 2021 – and several recruiting limitations, including:

  • Loss of 17 official visit days during the 2019-20 school year;

  • Off-campus recruiting ban for Texas A&M staffers in November 2019;

  • A seven-day off-campus ban during the spring recruiting period and a 10-day off-campus recruiting ban in the fall;

  • A $5,000 fine.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some aspects of the resolution are subject to change. The Aggies faced limitations in the spring recruiting period, for example, which was eventually cancelled.

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