There is a bit of debate over the NCAA legalities of the recent actions of USC's new assistant coach and top recruiter, Ed Orgeron. For those unaware of the controversy, the basic facts are that Coach Orgeron had been in contact with several members of Tennessee's recruiting class after announcing that he was leaving the school (along with the Kitten) to take a position at USC. Orgeron's explanation of the conversations:
Orgeron, the Trojans' new defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, acknowledged speaking to several members of the Volunteers' recruiting class, but claimed he only gave them information requested by their families and didn't try to poach any Tennessee commitments.
"We will not (recruit Tennessee-committed players), unless a guy would call us and say he's interested in us," said Orgeron, one of the nation's top recruiters during his first stint at USC.
And I won't go to Tennessee. They had the nerve to call me and ask me to come to Southern Cal. And coach Orgeron had just told me he was going to be my coach at Tennessee.
Meanwhile, Knoxville TV station WATE reported that during Lane Kiffin's farewell address to his Tennessee team, several people, including Tennessee players and members of the University's Athletic staff could hear Ed Orgeron in the background, making calls to committed recruits, including players set to enroll at the university the following morning as Spring Admits, telling them not to enroll (keeping them uncommitted to UT) and advising then that they had scholarship offers from USC.
In a demonstration of true USC-level intelligence, Orgeron reportedly included on his calling list Spring enrolees that were present at this team meeting; at least one of these players-to be placed the incoming call on speakerphone, allowing his future teammates to hear Orgeron's duplicity first hand.
The queston of whether Ed Orgeron's conduct while contacting these Tennessee football recruits constitutes an NCAA violation or not is an issue that I will leave to people with a better understanding of the particulars of recruiting standards. The question of whether his conduct is that of a dishonest $Cumbag truely worthy of his new surroundings is one that I can undoubtedly answer in the affirmative.
[UPDATE, 8:03am - P]
This morning, The Sporting News posted an article on Orgeron's recruit contacts, and cited the father of another Tennessee recruit, prep QB Tyler Bray:
Jeff Bray, the father of Tennessee quarterback recruit Tyler Bray, said Orgeron made a pitch to several recruits gathered in a room over speakerphone, and that he offered USC scholarships to some players, according to the report.
"He didn't think it was very cool," Jeff Bray said, describing Tyler's reaction to the pitch. "You're in the middle of all this turmoil and they're trying to pull players. ... My understanding was a lot of [the players] got very angry and voiced their anger on the phone."
The same article mention's Hello Kiffin's approach to Tennessee's recruits:
Kiffin said during his introductory press conference Wednesday that USC would not pursue Tennessee recruits unless they contact the Trojans staff first. "I've told [Tennessee Athletic Director] Mike Hamilton I will not recruit the players that go there unless they call me," he said.
Either the Kitten does not have full knowledge of what his subordinates are doing, or the head coach of USC's football program is not telling the full, god's honest truth. Perish the thought.