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Florida Gators football hit with NCAA violations, Dan Mullen given show-cause

Florida head coach Dan Mullen looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game...
Florida head coach Dan Mullen looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Randy Sartin/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)(Randy Sartin | AP)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 12:33 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The NCAA has sanctioned the Florida Gators football program for level II and level III recruiting violations.

According to the NCAA, Gators head coach Dan Mullen was dinged with failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, however, several of the violations were old.

In the release, the NCAA says Mullen and an assistant coach had in-person contact with a prospect they met at the prospect’s high school, while the recruit was present. The report says Mullen had texted the prospect before, expressing interest.

NCAA rules do not allow off-campus recruiting contacts during the junior year.

“As Head Football Coach of the Florida Gators, promoting an atmosphere of compliance within our program is important to me,” said Mullen in a statement. “Following the rules and being committed to doing things the right way is part of my history as a coach, at all levels, and I regret we didn’t do things the right way in this situation. Even though this is an isolated matter, I’m still disappointed in the violations outlined in the report. We’re going to learn from our mistakes and I’m confident this won’t happen again. Most importantly, we’ll keep working for the benefit of our student athletes to make our program one our fans and University can be proud of.”

“There is no evidence of systemic compliance issues at Florida, but when isolated circumstances occur they are addressed head on and we accept responsibility for our actions, as evidenced by this instance,” Athletics Director Scott Stricklin.

“NCAA rules are in place to create fairness and integrity, and the University of Florida has an established history of adhering to those rules,” Stricklin added. “It is important for our coaches and staff to remain diligent and take responsibility for compliance, and extricate themselves from potential NCAA violations.”

“The University of Florida places a high value on integrity and we are committed to compliance,” added University of Florida President Dr. Kent Fuchs. “I’m confident that we have the right processes and people in place to deliver the highest standard of honesty and compliance.”

Here is a full breakdown of the punishment from the report:

  • One year of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • Reduced fall 2019 evaluations from 42 to 21.
  • Reduced football evaluation days by 12 for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • Restrictions on all recruiting telephone calls with football prospects from April 15 through May 31, 2019.
  • A reduction in the number of football official visits during the 2019-20 academic year by one and in the number of unofficial visits during the 2019-20 academic year by 14.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the head football coach. During that period, the head coach is prohibited from all off-campus recruiting activity during the fall 2020 evaluation period and a four-day off-campus recruiting ban during the fall 2021 contact period.
  • The university banned the head coach from recruiting for the first 10 days of the January 2020 contact period.
  • A 30-day off-campus recruiting ban for the head coach during the fall 2019 evaluation period.
  • The university ended the recruitment of the prospect.
  • The university will not recruit any prospects from the high school in Seattle from the 2019-20 through 2020-21 academic years.
  • A seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the entire football coaching staff during the spring 2021 off-campus recruiting period.
  • A 30-day off-campus recruiting ban for the assistant coach in October 2019 and a three-day off-campus recruiting ban for the January 2020 contact period.
  • One-on-one rules education for both the head coach and assistant coach regarding NCAA contact and evaluation rules.

“If an opportunity to serve a penalty will not be available due to circumstances related to COVID-19, the penalty must be served at the next available opportunity,” the NCAA adds in the report.

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