Some things change, and some will remain the same from now until the end of the world. Lane Kiffin looks like he is cheating. Again.
ESPN Reporter Shelly Smith accidentally revealed a potential recruiting violation when she reported on a text she received from USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin yesterday morning.
"I got a text from Lane Kiffin at 5:15 this morning telling me to wake up, it was a big day and then I got a second text saying, 'We need to get Nelson,'" Smith said live on ESPNU.
Nothing like getting your BSPN mouthpiece to do some TV recruiting for you. While SChelly is better known for prematurely reporting of false news, breaking big stories is not her forte. There is no appearance that she initially understood that what was communicated to her personally and what she subsequently reported nationally was possibly illegal. We'll have to leave the interpretation of the rules to journalists with a better understanding of their subject, like the staff at Yahoo! Sports, for instance.
Coaches aren't allowed to talk about any recruit that hasn't signed a national letter of intent and as Smith noted herself, Nelson wasn't set to make his announcement until at least 45 later.
According to the NCAA:
Coaches can't talk about recruits before having a valid National Letter of Intent on file, and they can't attend NLI signings not on an institution's campus. Not allowing coaches to talk about the players they are recruiting avoids the "one-upmanship" that could (and previously did) occur between coaches in the recruiting process.
Kiffin and violations go together like mom and apple pie, but without the wholesome purity and goodness of the latter. Now, good journalism and SChelly Smith have never been confused for one another. The fact that she actually discovered and scooped something without realizing it at the time is especially delicious. And I say "at the time", because I wonder if someone pointed this out to her afterward. Smith later interviewed Kiffy on camera, and she actually repeated the issue in question, using a tone in her voice and body language that looks to me like someone trying to justify something. Her intro to the interview with Lane:
"Coach Lane Kiffin, a lot been going on here we haven't seen, and a lot you can't talk about because kids are still being certified, letters are still coming in, but you had did (sic) talk about Nelson Agholor..."
Awesome. State that you can't talk about it, and then admit you did talk about it anyway.
Nor is this the first time ESPN has helped Lane Violation Kiffin live up to his moniker.
During Kiffin's brief tenure at Tennessee, he allowed ESPN to do an "Outside The Lines" piece on him and that segment included a scene of Kiffin having a meeting with a couple of recruits, which was a violation because media is not allowed to observe a coach having contact with a recruit.
That was just one of 12 secondary violations Kiffin committed in a 10-month span in Knoxville, all of them linked to recruiting.
Like the gift that keeps on giving, ESPN + Lane Kiffin is the violation that just keeps on violating. The sad finale to this latest short cut on the rules is that less than an hour after Lane's illegal shout-out on ESPNU, Nelson Agholor, a 5* WR from Tampa FL, picked *$c over Florida, Florida St, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. I guess it's a good thing that Lane had a reduced number of scholies this year to manipulate. Fewer chances to misstep that way. But if Lane keeps this up, sanctions may just become the new reality at *$c.
The fact that this exchange is reported on Yahoo! Sports, and absolutely nowhere on tWWL, is further proof that BSPN has no credibility in the sports journalism industry, and no place around college sports.