South Carolina football put on one-year probation by NCAA

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s football program was placed on probation for the next year by the NCAA for a former assistant coach’s impermissible actions in recruiting a sophomore prospect in the spring of 2018.

South Carolina reported the infraction to the NCAA, which considered it a Level II violation. The school and the NCAA handled it through the governing body’s negotiated resolution process. The probation, which runs until Oct. 21, 2020, does not include any restriction on postseason competition, according to the NCAA.

The violation involved impermissible texts and in-person contact between the ex-assistant and the high school sophomore. Neither were named in NCAA documents.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said he is responsible for all facets of the program, including when things go wrong. “I recognize that a violation occurred within my program and I have taken substantial corrective actions to ensure that similar instances do not continue to occur,” he said in a statement.

In the offseason, Muschamp let go of two assistants in defensive line coach Lance Thompson and tight ends coach Pat Washington. John Scott Jr. came over from Arkansas to coach the defensive line while assistant Bobby Bentley was shifted to take over tight ends and former Georgia tailback great Thomas Brown was hired to coach running backs.

The NCAA said South Carolina cooperated fully in the investigation.

According to the NCAA, the prospect took a legal unofficial visit to South Carolina in January 2018 for the program’s “Junior Day” event. But after that, the former assistant sent him a text saying he was glad he and his mother came to the function, something not allowed ty the NCAA.

In all, the prospect received 13 text messages from the ex-assistant that were against NCAA rules.

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