Following her spectacular performance at the Little League World Series, Mo’ne Davis received a congratulatory phone call from UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
The longtime head coach, who has ties to Philadelphia, was asked by a friend of a friend who works in the 76ers organization, to call up the Taney Little League star to congratulate her on history-making performance.
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It seemed like a nice gesture at the time, but when a rival school received word of Auriemma’s call, they alerted the American Athletic Conference, despite the fact that the call had been cleared by UConn’s compliance office and that UConn did not consider Davis, a standout basketball player as well who has dreamed of playing basketball at UConn, a prospective student athlete because she is not yet in high school.
On Thursday, a day after news of a school ratting out Auriemma was made public, the NCAA ruled that it was indeed a secondary rules violation. UConn athletic director Warde Manuel issued a statement acknowledging that the university accepts the decision but does not agree with it.
“Over the last 24 hours, the University of Connecticut, the American Athletic Conference and the NCAA have been working together to determine whether a violation occurred when head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma spoke with Mo’ne Davis over the phone during the 2014 Little League World Series. The NCAA has determined a secondary rules violation of bylaw 18.104.22.168 did occur and while UConn accepts this decision, we do not agree with it,” Manuel said in the statement.
“Prior to attempting to reach Davis, Coach Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance.
department and was advised such a call would be permissible since Davis is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.
“While UConn will continue to adhere to the NCAA and conference rules, I believe that upon request from a friend to Geno, a proud Philadelphian, to call a young lady representing the City of Brotherly Love who had accomplished historic feats in the Little League World Series, should not constitute a violation especially due to the fact that NCAA rules do not classify Mo’ne as a prospective student-athlete.
“The nature of Coach Auriemma’s two-minute conversation with Mo’ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo’ne to continued success.”