Friday February 20th, 2015

The NCAA did not impose any further punishment to Florida's football program after it investigated a former assistant coach that violated a recruiting contact rule.

NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, in its findings, did not mention anyone by name, but various media outlets have reported the allegations surrounded former assistant coach Joker Phillips.

In June 2014, it was reported that Phillips met with a high school recruit at a restaurant during a mandated "dead" period in recruiting. A picture was taken of the two and sent to the NCAA by someone with ties to the Miami athletics program.

Florida suspended Phillips from all off-campus recruiting for 30 days beginning on April 10, 2014 and ended recruitment of the prospect involved in the contact.

The NCAA deemed that punishment was sufficient enough, even though they said the infraction was a Level II violation, because the coach's actions were "not inadvertent and provided more than a minimal recruiting advantage."

Phillips, 51, resigned from the school that same month as the original report, citing "personal issues." He was hired last month as the wide receivers coach for the Cleveland Browns.

He was also the head coach at Kentucky for three seasons before being fired in 2012 after compiling a 13-24 record.

"The University of Florida Athletic Association takes pride in the culture of compliance it has built over the years," Florida AD Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "Integrity is one of the core values of our organization – we act in a fair, ethical and honest manner and we strive to do things the right way every day.

"That is why we took quick and decisive action after we learned of a recruiting contact rule violation involving one of our assistant football coaches in January 2014. We stopped recruiting the involved student-athlete, we removed the assistant coach from all recruiting activities, and later secured his resignation."

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According to the reported allegations, Phillips may have been in violation of the NCAA’s "bump rule," which prohibits impermissible dialogue with a recruit during no-contact periods in the recruiting calendar. Most violations of the rule are secondary in nature but can be elevated if Phillips arranged to meet the recruit.

"This is a final resolution to a matter that we dealt with last June regarding one of our former assistant coaches," Florida said in a statement.

Phillips replaced former Florida wide receivers coach, Aubrey Hill, who resigned following evidence that he had "illicit contact" with recruits while at Miami. The NCAA gave Hill a two-year show-cause.

- Scooby Axson

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