Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The NCAA has placed South Carolina's football program on probation for one year after an investigation into impermissible off-campus contact between a former assistant coach and a recruit in 2018.
The NCAA -- the main governing body of college athletics -- announced the conclusion of the negotiated resolution Tuesday. The violation of off-campus contact included 13 impermissible text messages that were sent to the prospective student-athlete between January and June 2018. The NCAA said the high school sophomore prospect took a permissible unofficial visit to the university before the coach sent his first impermissible text a day after the visit.
South Carolina's probationary period does not include restrictions on regular season or postseason competition.
"The assistant coach's conduct was contrary to our core university values and will not be tolerated at our institution," university President Robert L. Caslen Jr. said in a news release. "It is essential that our coaches and student-athletes demonstrate an unwavering commitment to compliance with all values and standards of the NCAA and the university."
South Carolina officials previously self-imposed disciplinary actions on their football program. Those actions were approved by the NCAA. The entire football coaching staff was prohibited from any off-campus recruiting activity for the first two weeks of the 2019 spring evaluation period and first four weeks of the 2019 fall evaluation period. The Gamecocks football program also had a restriction on phone and text communications with prospective student athletes for a two-week period in September.
South Carolina stopped recruiting the involved prospective student, who was declared ineligible for competition at the school. The athletic department was also fined $10,000.
"As the head coach of the football program at the University of South Carolina, I am responsible for all facets of the program," Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. "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."
Muschamp can have off-campus contact with 10 recruits during a two-week contact period in December. South Carolina (3-4) battles Tennessee (2-5) at 4 p.m. EDT Saturday at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.