NCAA hands out punishment to LSU for recruiting violations

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LSU football program has been sanctioned for violating recruiting rules during the COVID-19 dead period, the NCAA announced Thursday

The NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions panel ruled that LSU failed to comply to limitations during that time frame when former offensive line coach James Cregg and an unidentified former assistant director of recruiting met with and "provided the prospect with impermissible recruiting inducements," to a recruit.

As part of the sanctions, LSU must pay a self-imposed $5,000 fine, be limited to 55 official recruiting visits during the 2022-23 academic year and will be on probation for one year, among other punishments.

Cregg was also handed a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA.

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A Baton Rouge judge ruled in August that LSU owed Cregg $492,945.20 for improperly firing the assistant for-cause in June 2021. Cregg filed a lawsuit against the university in August 2021, alleging that LSU fired him "for a cause that did not exist," his attorneys Chris Whittington and Robb Campbell told The Advertiser last month.

Prior to Thursday's ruling, the NCAA had not levied any punishments against Cregg. The NCAA"s Notice of Allegations in March also had no mention of Cregg.

The money owed to Cregg included his remaining salary with LSU from June 17, 2021 to March 31, 2022. But it does not include an eight-day stretch in February and 31 days in March of 2022 in which his current employer, the San Francisco 49ers, covered his compensation.

In a statement released to The Advertiser in August, LSU had planned to appeal the ruling.

"We are clearly disappointed in the court’s ruling. We had a coach admit to the NCAA under oath that he contacted and gave athletic gear to a recruit despite being advised by compliance staff of an existing no-contact period with recruits," the release stated. "We had a contractual right and obligation to terminate this coach’s contract. Unfortunately, the trial court did not see this the same way. We intend to appeal this decision."

And given Thursday's ruling from the NCAA outlining Cregg's wrongdoing, the university's stance on an appeal should be emboldened.

Cregg served as LSU's offensive line coach for three seasons, leading the unit to win the Joe Moore Award in 2019 as the nation's best offensive line. His replacement, former Arkansas offensive line coach Brad Davis, was hired in June 2021 and still holds the position.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LSU football punishes by NCAA for recruiting violations by assistant