UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma called little league pitcher Mo'ne Davis last month to congratulate her success with the Taney Dragons. Someone anonymously reported the call to the NCAA as a recruiting violation, because Davis, who is 13 years old, also plays basketball. The NCAA actually took the report seriously and ruled Auriemma's correspondence was a violation.
There won't be an actual penalty against UConn; the NCAA considered it to be a secondary violation, which usually necessitates "rules education" and "a letter of admonishment" for the violator, according to the Hartford Courant. Those faux-sanctions sound like euphemistic punishments from a dystopian novel. (Maybe Auriemma will also be forced to go to the NCAA's Chamber of Thought Readjustment.)
The silliest part—OK, this is all silly—is that before Auriemma called Davis, he checked with the school's compliance department to make sure it wouldn't be a violation, according to UConn athletic director Warde Manuel. From the Courant:
"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."
The complainant is unknown, though the Courant's sources rule out the American Athletic Conference (UConn's conference) and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Auriemma reportedly said Wednesday that a conference filed the complaint on behalf of one of its schools, but he wouldn't say which one.
Look, Auriemma can sometimes be prickish, and it's fine to not like him, but this is ridiculous. Despite Auriemma apparently checking beforehand and, again, the fact that Davis's 13 years old, the NCAA found the complaint worthy enough to provide a slap on the wrist that ends up doing nothing except giving them a chance to remind everyone who's the boss here. Another excerpt:
According to an athletic department source, the NCAA viewed Davis, despite her age, as someone more significant than a typical "individual athlete" because of her notoriety and previously expressed interest in playing for UConn.
And even though it was not Auriemma's intent to speak directly to Davis, the fact that he initiated the call simply to express support and congratulations obviously did not sit well with NCAA compliance.
Let's all be thankful that Auriemma didn't choose to send Davis an iced cookie cake. Who knows what the NCAA would have done then.