On May 10, 2016, UVA head football coach Bronco Mendenhall self-reported impermissible contacts that occurred by members of his coaching staff. The contacts took place during the last week of April and the first week of May in 2016.
The violations involved assistant football coaches, after a brief greeting, engaging with prospects to take a photograph. The action was deemed contact beyond the standard greeting and a violation of NCAA bylaw 220.127.116.11.2-Evaluation Period, bylaw 18.104.22.168 – Time Period for Off-Campus Contacts and bylaw 22.214.171.124-Recruiting Calendars-Football.
There were a total of 32 violations involving this action during a two-week period. The number of violations elevated the overall violation to Level II status.
“I am disappointed these actions occurred during engagements with prospects and resulted in violations,” Mendenhall said. “It is incumbent upon everyone associated with our program to have a complete understanding of the NCAA bylaws and interpretations and it’s my responsibility to ensure that happens. We have already taken steps with our compliance staff to improve our training and rules education to ensure we meet that standard. It is our goal to operate at the highest level of compliance to support the University and positively represent our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and community.”
Following the self-reporting of the violations, the Virginia football program worked collaboratively with the NCAA enforcement staff to review the matter. As a result, the NCAA has imposed the following penalties and accepted UVA’s self-imposed sanctions:
- Public reprimand and $5,000 fine (standard NCAA penalties for Level II violations)
- Self-imposed reduction from six to four off-campus contacts for those prospects with whom coaches took photographs
- Self-imposed reduction of spring 2017 evaluations from 168 to 150
- Self-imposed additional rules education for the football staff as to what is deemed an impermissible contact
“I believe we have established a positive culture of compliance regarding the NCAA bylaws and Coach Mendenhall’s response, cooperation with the NCAA and steps to move forward following these violations confirms that commitment,” said Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage. “This is a reminder to all of our programs of the level of diligence required regarding our dedication to compliance. We are committed to abiding by all NCAA rules and I expect our entire athletics department to operate with that goal in mind.”