The Texas A&M football program will serve a year-long probationary period due to violations of recruiting and countable athletically related activity rules, the NCAA announced on Thursday.
According to the release, the incidents took place from January 2018 to February 2019 and involved former running backs coach Jay Graham, who took a coaching position at Tennessee after the 2019 season.
The findings revealed Graham and head coach Jimbo Fisher had “impermissible recruiting contact with a prospect at his high school.”
“The conversation was impermissible because it occurred before the completion of the prospect’s junior year in high school,” the statement said.
The NCAA’s ruling also found the program had “unintentionally caused student-athletes to exceed activity time limits by approximately seven hours” during spring and summer activity periods.
The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions agreed on the following penalties for the program:
- One year of probation.
- A fine of $5,000.
- A reduction in football official visits by 17 days during the 2019-20 academic year.
- An off-campus recruiting ban for the entire football coaching staff for November 2019, which reduced the permissible evaluation days for the 2019-20 academic year by 19.
- A seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the football coaching staff for the 2020 spring off-campus recruiting period and a 10-day off-campus recruiting ban for the football coaching staff for the 2020 fall off-campus recruiting period.
- The university ended its recruitment of the prospect.
- A ban on recruiting any prospects from the prospect's high school for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
- A six-month show-cause order for the head coach. The terms of the show-cause order include a previously served nine-day ban on phone calls, emails or texts with prospects in January 2020; a reduction in off-campus recruiting contact days by three for the December 2019 through January 2020 contact period; a ban on all off-campus recruiting activities for the fall 2020 contact period; additional one-on-one rules education; and a public statement from the head coach addressing the violations.
The Tennessee athletic department released a statement on Thursday regarding Graham’s involvement in the violations.
“During the process of hiring Coach Jay Graham, we were made aware of the circumstances at his previous institution, and we vetted it thoroughly in accordance with NCAA and SEC bylaws,” the statement reads. “We established and maintain extremely high confidence in Coach Graham’s commitment to compliance and are proud to have him on our staff.”