Texas A&M was a school that many people were thinking had a very good chance to make a serious push at a National Championship appearance this season. With a lot of senior talent that had played together since they were freshman all gearing up for their final season, it didn’t seem to be too impossible.
However, that dream has crashed before the season has even started, and not by the COVID-19 virus. The Aggies have become a casualty to recruiting violations.
The violations came from the span of several attempts to recruit a prospect to the school between January, 2018, and February, 2019. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and an assistant coach had impermissible contact with a recruit during that span of time. When discovered, the negotiated resolution between the NCAA and Texas A&M was, until the conclusion of the investigation, to give up their recruitment of the prospect.
The NCAA found Coach Fisher guilty of “failing to create an atmosphere of compliance,” as well as not showing that he had monitored his staff to prevent any violations. He was forced to serve a 9-day ban on phone calls, emails, or texts with recruits back in January, and has now been handed a 6-month show cause order. This order will not allow Coach Fisher to participate in any off-campus recruiting over the entire fall.
“As Texas A&M’s Head Football Coach,” Fisher released in a statement, “I am responsible for promoting and monitoring for NCAA compliance in our program. While I am disappointed in the violations, including an unintended one that resulted from a conversation with a high school athlete, it is still my responsibility to ensure we are adhering to each and every rule. I am pleased to have this matter completely behind our program and look forward to continuing our efforts to make every aspect of our program one all Aggies can continue to be proud of.”
This is a bad season to be banned from off-campus recruiting. With all of the COVID-19 stuff floating around, it’s not a certainty that prospects are going to be able to go onto campus for visits at all this season. With so much uncertainty, it can kill the Aggies recruiting this season, which hasn’t been particularly strong anyways. Texas A&M ranks 27th in the country right now, 8th in the SEC.
On top of the penalties on Coach Fisher, the NCAA has put the Aggies on probation for a year, which eliminates A&M’s playoff hopes this season.
The school was fined $5,000, and several other recruiting restrictions were put into place.