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Ex A&M LB Santonio Marchiol implicates Jimbo Fisher’s football staff in multiple NCAA violations

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The allegations are fairly straightforward, as detailed in Sam Khan’s article on ESPN.com

  1. Marchiol alleges that, while at A&M during Jimbo Fisher’s first offseason in College Station, Fisher’s staff gave A&M players cash to host recruits to make sure that they had a good time. He claims this occurred twice with him.
  2. He alleges that A&M held illegal practice hours beyond NCAA rules - including conditioning drills at 5:30am (not allowed to hold them before 6am), “voluntary mandatory” meetings and excessive practice time initiated by coaches.
  3. Marchiol alleges he was treated improperly and inadequately for an injury by A&M training staff.
  4. Vulgar and demeaning language was used to address players.

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My thoughts?

  1. Slipping player hosts a little extra cash is not an uncommon practice, though certainly barred by NCAA rules. A&M having a position coach act as bagman by slipping an Aggie player $400 in a bathroom proves a certain level of Aggie-ness. Cheat better, dummies.
  2. “Voluntary mandatories” aren’t rare in college football. The difference is that this extra work is generally led and initiated by the players and enforced by peer pressure, not defensive coordinators. And you can’t use non-attendance punitively. So the coaches can maintain deniability. Again, cheat better. The question here is one of degree. How much was this abused?
  3. In light of Maryland’s negligence, it’s a good bet that every program will be reviewing the competence and professionalism of their athletic trainers. Difficult to suss out the extent of Marchiol’s injury beyond pain and discomfort.
  4. Demeaning and vulgar language? It could be beyond the pale or it could be...football. Need examples.

Although the cash for hosting recruits bit is tantalizing, it might be less of a problem than the possibility of mandated extra practice times. Here are the NCAA Guidelines around practice times for on and off season.

If these offseason extra sessions were initiated and led by coaches (this would be incredibly stupid), required roll or attendance be taken, and players not attending were treated punitively or disadvantaged, A&M may have some problems on their hands.

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