Urban Meyer's recruitment of junior college receiver Carl Moore — already under investigation by Florida officials for possible NCAA rules violations — might involve Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow as a participant in additional violations.
The new allegation surfaced from a Dec. 18 story in the Sacramento Bee. The story details how Meyer, who was with Tebow for the Dec. 8 Heisman presentation in New York, called Moore shortly after Tebow was presented the award. According to the story by Joe Davidson, "Florida coach Urban Meyer placed the call and then placed the device in the hands of Tebow."
Tebow reportedly told Moore: "Carl!, I just won the Heisman! Come on down here, and let's win a national championship!"
NCAA rules state that a coach is not to make a call and then let another of his student-athletes talk to a recruit.
To this point, the investigation into the recruitment of Moore had centered on Meyer's involvement with Moore's girlfriend, Maranda Smith. From published accounts, Meyer had recruited Smith for the Gator gymnastics team in hopes of securing Moore. Under NCAA rules, this is forbidden because a football coach cannot recruit for another sport.
In a Gainesville Sun story last week headlined, "UF notebook: Gymnastics gets recruiting assist from Meyer," Smith said she "used to talk to [Meyer] every day back in November when he was recruiting Carl."
But Smith was telling a different story on Wednesday. This account from the Miami Herald's website:
" '[Meyer] never called me personally,' Smith said. 'Carl sometimes didn't have his phone or his phone would get cut off. So, he had given Coach Meyer my number and [Moore told Meyer], "If you call my number and I don't answer or it goes to voice mail, call Maranda because I'll be with her more than likely," and that's how he got a hold of Carl.' "
"Smith said on Wednesday that she 'never talked to Coach Meyer about life or anything for more than two seconds.' Smith said that Meyer would call her and then ask to speak with Moore."
Meyer was not available for comment and said to be recruiting, but the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday that Meyer had "met last week with Jamie McCloskey, UF's senior associate athletics director for compliance. The coach emerged from that meeting thinking he had committed no NCAA recruiting violations.
" 'No problems with that,' Meyer said. 'We're fine.' "
On Wednesday, the Sentinel reported that was not the case, this time quoting McCloskey:
"We are in information-gathering mode," McCloskey said. "And we're going to see where that takes us."
Did Meyer really believe he was in the clear when he talked to the Sentinel, or did he merely hope that the issue would go away?
Back to the Meyer/Tebow call to Moore. Here are the specific rules in question regarding that call:
NCAA rule 13.02.5.2: "Enrolled student-athletes or other enrolled students shall not make or participate in telephone calls to prospective student-athletes at the direction of a coaching staff member or financed by the institution or a representative of its athletics interest."
NCAA rule 13.02.5.1 (b): "It is permissible for an enrolled student-athlete to receive [not make] telephone calls made at the expense of a prospective student-athlete after July 1 following the completion of the prospective student-athlete’s junior year in high school. Telephone calls made by enrolled students (excluding student-athletes) pursuant to an institution’s regular admissions program directed at all prospective students shall be permissible."
Our continued thanks to State of Miami.