Charges could be elevated if it's determined that Joker Phillips arranged the meeting with the recruit. (Lexington Herald-Leader/Getty Images)
Former Gators wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, who resigned on Wednesday due to "personal reasons," may have instead stepped down for reasons tied to his alleged recruiting of a high school student, according to Charles Robinson and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports.
According to multiple sources cited in the report, the NCAA received a photo of the 51-year-old coach at a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated "dead" period in recruiting. The picture was handed over to the NCAA by someone with ties to the Dolphins organization, according to the report. If proven to be true, Phillips and the school could be in store for large sanctions handed down by the NCAA.
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Phillips was the replacement at Florida for the program's former wide receivers coach, Aubrey Hill, who had been let go following evidence that he had "illicit contact" with recruits while at the University of Miami, according to the report. The investigation will possibly look at whether Phillips had violated the "bump rule" of the NCAA, which states that a coach may not have impermissible dialogue with a recruit during a happenstance meeting over the "dead" period of recruiting. The charges could be elevated if it's found that Phillips purposely arranged to meet the recruit at the restaurant.