Yesterday, after conducting a freedom of information request, the Orlando Sentinel revealed that the Florida Gators football program had committed recruiting violations:
The Sentinel requested all major and secondary violations committed by the UF football team from June 1, 2009, to June 15, 2010.
Facebook walls are considered open forums and, therefore, against NCAA rules. Coaches can send direct messages through Facebook because it's similar to an e-mail.
Florida's case involved a whistle-blowing school that reported a Gators assistant posting comments on the Facebook walls of two recruits on Aug. 5. Florida then self-reported an assistant's Facebook wall posting to a recruit on Aug. 7, a separate violation. Facebook walls are considered open forums and, therefore, against NCAA rules.
The names of the assistant coaches or the opposing school were not revealed in Florida's records. For each offense, the coach was reminded of the interpretation and prohibited from written recruiting communication for a two-week period.
But did Florida report all of the violations? Back in June, an astute reader snapped screen shots of Florida coach Billy Gonzales committing the same type of violation described in the Sentinel's report. At the time, however, this reader didn't know Gonzales' activities were a violation, instead capturing the image because he thought it odd for a college coach to be on the facebook page of a recruit. We don't know if this specific instance is one of the violations reported by UF, but it is certainly a violation and occurred within the "June 1-15" time frame covered by the Sentinel's request. In this picture, you can see coach Gonzales openly recruiting Cody Riggs, who eventually signed with UF. He says "so does (sic) Florida Gators".
The date of the violation is June 9th. This very well could be the smoking gun (or is this the smoking cap gun since this seems relatively minor?) If it's not, however, then UF has to 'fess up to another violation, however minor.
The only question left is determining what rival school turned UF in to the NCAA? Any rival had the opportunity with the wildly popular '09 Gonzales Summer Facebook Tour in full swing.
*We have redacted the names of those not involved with the violation to protect their identities.