The NCAA has cited UConn for a secondary rules violation after coach Geno Auriemma called Little League World Series standout Mo'ne Davis to congratulate her on a great season. And, yes, it's as silly as it sounds.
Davis, 13, has said that she wants to play basketball for Auriemma. But the coach only called her after the 76ers contacted him through a friend. Auriemma then cleared it with the UConn compliance office before coordinating the call through Little League.
No matter. In the NCAA's eyes, that's unacceptable. This development did not make UConn athletic director Warde Manuel happy.
"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," Manuel said in a statement. "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.
"Prior to attempting to reach Davis, Coach Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department and was advised such a call would be permissible since Davis is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.
"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."
The NCAA likely became aware of the matter after another school filed a complaint. The school lodging the complaint doesn't have to publicly identify itself, though sources tell the Hartford Courant that neither the AAC nor the ACC were responsible.
At the end of the day, "secondary violations" are nothing more than a censure -- a public tsk-tsking and nothing more. The Courant notes that typically there are no sanctions, but "Instead, corrective action is usually taken that includes rules education ... a letter of admonishment is usually included and in some cases contact with the specific recruit is banned for a set period of time."
Hopefully, Auriemma frames that letter and hangs it next to his nine NCAA championship trophies.