Iowa State deems contact infractions a 'major' case for hoops

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Iowa State's penalties aren't huge, but the university is taking them seriously. (USATSI)

Some outdated legislation is causing a headache for Iowa State basketball and the athletic department as a whole. The Ames Tribune reported Wednesday night that phone calls and text messages over a three-year span "constitute a major infractions case" for Iowa State.

The irony is: Most of these infractions are no longer infractions in the modern era. Last year, the NCAA eliminated or altered the guidelines on text-messaging and phone call bans to recruits. (Plenty still want the old way of limited contact to return, however.)

The football and basketball programs most notably are under an investigative light, though the two assistants affiliated with Cyclones hoops have since left the school.

Six current and former members of the ISU football and men's basketball coaching staffs face potential NCAA penalties as well. ... Former ISU men's basketball staff members Daniyal Robinson and Keith “Lefty” Moore were also named. All are at risk of an NCAA show-cause penalty. ... The crux of the violations stem from ISU coaches failing to properly record phone calls in which they did not reach recruits or just left a message for them.

ISU has slapped itself with a "failure to monitor" tag and is hoping it will face minimal -- or no -- additional sanctions from the NCAA. The case will now be handed over to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, and ISU is asking for a two-year probation penalty, a probation that began on the school's behalf in November 2011.

This all stemmed from recently extended ISU coach Fred Hoiberg attending a 2011 AAU event to see his son play. At that event, he saw Moore -- then a graduate assistant -- in attendance and, essentially, recruiting. Not allowed, since Moore was not an assistant coach. Hoiberg reported the mishap to ISU, which then began a process of digging in to its coaches as a whole.

Now we're seeing the "fruits" of that labor.

"That audit uncovered 'a significant number of recruiting communication violations involving most of its sports programs,'" according to the Ames Tribune's report and findings from Iowa State's investigation. In total, 33 coaches across 18 sports were in question for illegal recruiting tactics. Again, this is mostly due to contact rules that have since been restructured and reformatted for pragmatics in the modern technology era.

Another factor in this, something that Iowa State is using as a reason/explanation, is that the coaches were apparently unaware of the necessity to record every instance of contact to a recruit that did not lead to a two-way conversation. Those missed opportunities have to be recorded -- or at least used to. Current contact rules are much different.

Will that affect the coaches in question? That is unclear. Robinson is an assistant at Notre Dame; Moore was fired the day after Hoiberg reported him being at the AAU event. Rules are rules, and even if they were considered obsolete rules at the time, they were still broken.

Iowa State is labeling these as "major" infractions because it was clearly a systemic problem. But it's tough to imagine much more blowback from the NCAA over this. The assistants have since left, and Hoiberg supposedly did the right thing right away. According to Sporting News, ISU has spent $82,000 on monitoring and sacrificed a week's worth of recruiting contact.

There is no timeline on when/how long the NCAA will take with its decision in this case, but ISU will certainly hope it comes by the spring or summer.

 
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