NCAA rules Geno's call to Mo'ne a secondary violation
Updated 7:23 pm, Thursday, September 4, 2014
The NCAA ruled Thursday that UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma's congratulatory phone call to Little League sensation Mo'ne Davis was a secondary rules violation.
In a statement, UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said, "Over the last 24 hours, the University of Connecticut, the American Athletic Conference and the NCAA have been working together to determine whether a violation occurred when head women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma spoke with Mo'ne Davis over the phone during the 2014 Little League World Series. The NCAA has determined a secondary rules violation of bylaw 18.104.22.168 did occur and while UConn accepts this decision, we do not agree with it."
Auriemma talked about the call when he met with the media Wednesday.
"She's 13. The conversation lasted about two minutes," Auriemma said. "She hangs up. How about a school turned us in as a recruiting violation because I'm not allowed to talk to her until July 1 of her junior year in high school, which is pure, absolute, unadulterated ... but that's the world that we live in."
Manuel said that before attempting to reach Davis, Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department and was advised such a call would be permissible since she is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.
Davis, who became the only girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, told ESPN that her goal is to play point guard at UConn. She was wearing a UConn sweatshirt Tuesday night when she met Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
Manuel's statement continued: "While UConn will continue to adhere to the NCAA and conference rules, I believe that upon request from a friend to Geno, a proud Philadelphian, to call a young lady representing the City of Brotherly Love who had accomplished historic feats in the Little League World Series, should not constitute a violation especially due to the fact that NCAA rules do not classify Mo'ne as a prospective student-athlete.
"The nature of Coach Auriemma's two-minute conversation with Mo'ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo'ne to continued success.
"I consider this matter closed and we will have no further comment."
"I've never seen the kid play basketball," Auriemma said Wednesday. "I have no idea. I have no idea whether the kid's any good, no good, a superstar or can even reach the basket. I have no idea. No one that I know has ever seen her play. So I don't know why that's a violation."