Report: "Individual with ties to Miami" turned in Joker Phillips for "dead period" picture

Andy Lyons

There are high crimes and misdemeanors in college football recruiting, and the recruiting violation related to Joker Phillips appears to be a misdemeanor.

Florida's Joker Phillips was reported to the NCAA for taking a picture with a recruit during a "dead period" by "an individual with ties to the Miami athletic program," Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson and Pat Forde reported Thursday.

Former University of Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips resigned this week after the NCAA received a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

Three sources told Yahoo Sports the photo was turned over to the NCAA by an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes athletics program. Should the NCAA determine Phillips improperly recruited during a mandated dead period, it could be considered a major NCAA violation.

"Major NCAA violation" is the fun, scary phrase to use here, because, hey, sure, if Phillips "improperly recruited during a mandated dead period" to a degree beyond having incidental contact with a recruit during a dead period, that could be grounds for a major violation. But Robinson and Forde go on to note that sources told them it was essentially a "bump," making the only new information here that Phillips is in a picture with a recruit in a restaurant.

Two sources told Yahoo Sports that the encounter was described to the NCAA as a violation of the "bump rule" – a scenario in which a coach unexpectedly comes across a recruit and has an impermissible dialogue. Such an instance is considered a secondary violation by the NCAA. However, the violation can graduate to something more serious if the contact between a coach and recruit is premeditated or arranged – such as a dinner or social gathering – in which the coach would be deemed to be purposefully violating the recruiting dead period.

If Phillips orchestrated a meeting with a recruit during a dead period, then that's obviously a big deal. If Phillips had incidental contact with that recruit — which is something that happens far more often than you would believe on the recruiting trail, because coaches have mastered the art of being in the right place at the right time — then that qualifies as a "bump," even during a dead period. And, even during a dead period, a "bump" is the sort of minor thing that usually isn't close to a fireable offense: It's a secondary violation to the NCAA, if that, and secondary violations generally don't carry anything but minor penalties, often for the offending coach in particular.

Additonally: How "an individual with ties to the Miami athletic program" would have obtained a photograph of Phillips in a restaurant with a recruit is anyone's guess, but perennial rule-breaker Miami turning in "squeaky-clean" Florida to the NCAA definitely adds another layer of intrigue to this story.

I still think there are more layers we'll discover in time.

I'm still gonna mostly wait and see.

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