The Florida football program has been on probation for one year and coach Dan Mullen has been given a one-year show-cause penalty for violations of recruiting rules, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The release from the NCAA states that Mullen, along with an unnamed assistant coach, had impermissible in-person contact with a prospect at the recruit's high school. The coaches, according to the report, expressed interest in the unnamed high school football player. The NCAA also found that Mullen sent text messages to the student-athlete about the the high school visit, meaning that this wasn't a case of the coaches "bumping" into the student. Off-campus recruiting isn't allowed until high school players have reached their junior seasons.
The NCAA also found that the staff violated rules when it allowed 127 high school athletes tour the facility on their way to a tournament in Tampa. These athletes were not part of any high school football program.
"As head football coach of the Florida Gators, promoting an atmosphere of compliance within our program is important to me," Mullen said. "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,'' Mullen said. "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."
Florida's penalties include the following:
- A one-year show cause for Mullen. He was prohibited from all off-campus recruiting during the fall 2020 evaluation period and was given a four-day off-campus recruiting ban during the fall 2021 contact period. Mullen was also banned from off-campus recruiting for the first 10 days of the January 2020 recruiting period, was prohibited from off-campus recruiting for 30 days in fall 2019.
- A $5,000 fine for Florida
- One-year probation
- The university was prohibited from recruiting players from the Seattle-area high school from 2019-21.
- A seven-day off campus recruiting ban for the entire staff in spring 2021.
- One-on-one rules education for Mullen and the unnamed assistant coach
The NCAA also states that any punishment that isn't able to be administered due to COVID-19 protocols will be served at the next available opportunity. This case was part of the negotiated resolution process between the NCAA and the University of Florida as opposed to a formal NCAA hearing.