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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 29, 2009 at 3:47 PM

UW to self-report violation, says it was inadvertent

The University of Washington has just announced it will report a pair of secondary violations in relation to a story that detailed a recruiting visit that appeared in the LA Times earlier this week. (Here are details from our story today).
In short, UW says the violation was inadvertent, an assertion essentially backed up by the author of the LA Times story, Ben Bolch, who said that while UW coaches knew he was there and didn’t ask him to leave, he simply observed the visit without engaging the Husky coaches. Bolch was already interviewing Jordan High’s coach and a player when the recruiting visit began.
Here is UW’s statement:
“The University of Washington athletic department will self-report a secondary violation of NCAA rules having to do with the football program,” athletic director Scott Woodward said today.
“The violation occurred when UW head coach Steve Sarkisian and assistant head coach Nick Holt met with two high-school seniors and their coach last week in Los Angeles. Also present at that meeting were a newspaper reporter and a junior teammate of the two players. It is not permissible for coaches to have off-campus contact with prospective student-athletes until July 1 prior to their senior year, nor is it permissible to have recruiting contact with prospects in the presence of media.
“Neither UW coach was aware ahead of time that the junior student-athlete or the newspaper reporter would be present at the visit. Additionally, neither coach engaged either the reporter or the junior in conversation during the meeting.
“I want to make it clear that we do not tolerate NCAA violations,” Woodward said. “We, as a department, are committed to compliance with the rules. Coach Sarkisian and Coach Holt found themselves in an awkward situation that was not of their doing. They regret that the incident occurred, and I’m confident that they will handle similar circumstances differently in the future.
“The violation report will be submitted to the Pac-10 Conference. The UW will consult the Pac-10 on appropriate corrective measures.
“The UW athletic department will have no further comment on this matter.”
That’s the end of UW’s statement.
Also, Bolch, the reporter who wrote the story for the LA Times, said in an e-mail today that, “I did not know it was a violation for me to be present at the meeting” and that he was there simply to try to get insight into their recruiting tactics.
Bolch said further that “I was at the hair salon interviewing a player and (Jordan High coach) Elijah Asante when Sarkisian and Holt arrived. We met and shook hands and watched a highlight video of Delvon Purvis. Then I drove separately to the coffee house and observed the recruiting visit. They (UW’s coaches) didn’t engage the underclassmen or myself during the visit.”
In a further e-mail, Bolch said that Sarkisian and Holt didn’t invite him to the meeting but “they allowed me to be there.”
This is the second time in two weeks UW has self-reported a secondary violation related to recruiting. The other was for simulating a game-day environment as recruits ran down the tunnel of Husky Stadium accompanied by the siren and fog.
The cases will be reviewed by the Pac-10’s compliance staff and then forward to the Compliance and Enforcement Committee, which next meets in a few months, to determine any possible penalties.

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