Luther Campbell says Miami coaches banned from Florida high schools over Joker Phillips

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Believing Uncle Luke here isn't the point. Understanding his point is.

Some Florida high schools are banning Miami coaches from visiting over Miami turning in Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips to the NCAA, rapper and Miami booster Luther Campbell — "Uncle Luke" to the uninitiated — "reported" Friday in the Miami New Times. (Yeah, I didn't think I'd write that sentence today, either.)

Campbell's substantive reporting:

Last week, Joker Phillips resigned as University of Florida wide receivers coach after the NCAA received a photo of him while he was talking to a high school recruit at a football practice. Florida could be found guilty of a major violation because Phillips allegedly spoke to the player during a scouting event where coaches are only allowed to evaluate recruits.

University of Florida coaches are accusing two Miami assistants of taking the incriminating pictures. Both universities are not commenting on the matter. However, head coaches at several high schools around the state have decided to ban Miami coaches from coming on their campuses.

This does not fully mesh with the latest I'd heard about the meeting and pictures that drew the NCAA's attention: What Campbell describes sounds like a meeting during an "evaluation period," which would be substantially different from the meeting during a "dead period" described in the Yahoo! report and in what I've gathered. And I'd heard that Miami coaches had received a photo, instead of taking it, as well — but 247Sports's Luke Stampini noted last week that there are multiple stories in circulation here.

And, well, given Uncle Luke's history of being uncharitable to Florida in service of exalting Miami — that article's ably dissected here — it's hard to figure out why he's "reporting" all this, much less whether it's true.

Except, that is, for Campbell's new stake in the game: He's the defensive coordinator at Miami Norland. He has high school prospects to look out for now, and his angle here is getting coaches more contact with high school players.

This could have all been avoided if college coaches were allowed to have more conversations with student athletes than the NCAA allows. By restricting how college coaches can communicate with high school recruits, the NCAA is giving competing football programs ammunition to go after each other.


In order to find out if a star student athlete is a responsible young adult or out running in the streets, college assistants need more time to develop a dialogue with the kid and his family. A coach should not be restricted from having productive conversations with a recruit before making a scholarship commitment.

Campbell seems to me to be arguing on one hand that Miami should not have turned in Phillips — because that led to schools banning 'Canes coaches and reducing exposure for his players — and on another hand that the NCAA shouldn't restrict contact as much as it does, because that impacts players' futures. I'm sympathetic to both points — but I also have to reconcile that with Phillips reportedly doing something serious enough to resign, and rumors that he was forced to resign.

I don't think Uncle Luke's report changes anything we know about what Phillips did, and I'm skeptical about his details. But if his argument about how the NCAA works against the best interests of recruits — prospective student-athletes — changes a few minds, I won't mind one bit.

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