The NCAA put LSU’s football program on one-year probation for rules violations committed by former offensive line coach James Cregg.
Cregg, who worked under former head coach Ed Orgeron for three seasons, visited with a prospect and provided him with used team gear during the recruiting dead period forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The former assistant director of recruiting also drove the prospect to campus for a stadium tour and gave him more used gear.
These events occurred in September 2020, when the recruiting dead period was in place for health and safety reasons, as well as to level the playing field for schools in regions with different public policies regarding the virus.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its ruling on Thursday.
“Although the [committee] has encountered more egregious conduct in past cases, the violations in this case represent intentional misconduct that should be of concern to the membership,” the NCAA panel said. “The COVID-19 recruiting dead period was intended to protect the health and safety of prospects, student-athletes and institutional staff. It also leveled the playing field for recruiting at a time when government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions varied across the country.”
LSU also will follow self-imposed penalties: a $5,000 fine, a one-week ban on unofficial visits, a limit of 55 official visits and a week-long period of no recruiting communications.
Cregg, now an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, also was given a three-year show-cause order. Any school that might hire him must show the NCAA why he shouldn’t be prohibited to take part in any off-campus recruiting activities.
Cregg sued LSU for breach of contract after his termination “for cause.” He claimed the NCAA hadn’t, to that point, ruled he had committed a rules infraction, and the court issued an award of nearly $500,000 in his favor. LSU has appealed.
–Field Level Media