Coaches' comments possible violations

Updated: May 24, 2009, 3:18 AM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

The NCAA has informed Ole Miss of possible NCAA rules violations stemming from comments Houston Nutt made in a pre-signing day Internet article about prospects who ended up signing with the Rebels.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger first reported the story after obtaining a letter from the NCAA to Ole Miss.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches or any athletic department employees from commenting about a recruit's ability or the type of impact that recruit could make at a certain school.

Ole Miss, following its own internal investigation, responded in a letter to the SEC earlier this month that a Level II secondary violation did occur as a result of the comments Nutt and other Ole Miss assistants made in the Rivals.com story, which was posted on Jan. 28. Signing day this year was on Feb. 4.

The Rivals.com story and possible violations were brought to the attention of the NCAA by an outside party that was not identified in the NCAA's letter, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

"Rules are rules," Nutt told the Clarion-Ledger. "The difficult thing is I didn't think we were doing anything wrong. But the good thing is we won't make the same mistake again."

Although neither Nutt nor his assistants mentioned recruits by name in the Rivals.com story, they talked in detail about the recruits' ability, and coupled with other information in the story about where the recruits were from, it was pretty easy to tell which players they were talking about.

In Ole Miss' internal investigation, it found that "while the article did not mention any prospect by name, it did provide other information which could identify the prospect. The institution concluded that this constituted a violation."

Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com.

Chris Low | email

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