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ESPN may have helped Lane Kiffin commit another recruiting violation

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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It wouldn't be a National Signing Day without a potential NCAA violation by Lane Kiffin.

Around 8:30 a.m. on the USC campus, ESPN reporter Shelley Smith recounted a text message she had received from Kiffin about three hours earlier on the air, and possibly walked the Trojans right into a secondary recruiting violation.

"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. "Now, I'm not sure what last name because he didn't tell me that, there are a lot of Nelson's out there, but I'm going to guess that it's Nelson Agholor, a very highly talented athlete out of Tampa, Florida. He is expected to sign either with Florida or with USC in the next 45 minutes."

Here the thing: 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.

Whoops.

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.

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Sadly, this isn't the first time ESPN has had a hand in helping Kiffin into a secondary violation. 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.

Until today, Kiffin had been unscathed during his tenure at USC.

While Smith was probably just trying to use her relationship with Kiffin to give some depth to her report, it definitely backfired. USC probably won't get more than a slap on the wrist for this, but perhaps Kiffin needs to be a little more careful about what he says.

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Photo courtesy of tboblogs.com
Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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