Michigan State self-reported a minor NCAA violation caused by Dick Vitale

The Dagger
Dick Vitale poses for a picture during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament. (Getty Images)
Dick Vitale poses for a picture during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament. (Getty Images)

A seemingly innocent photo Dick Vitale snapped with a heralded prospect at a Michigan State game last February is now causing a stir five months later.

The photo violated an obscure NCAA rule prohibiting members of the media from having any contact with recruits while they’re on an official visit to a school.

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Michigan State self-reported the incident to the NCAA as a Secondary/Level III violation, The Athletic reported Friday after uncovering the offense via a routine FOIA request. Secondary violations often are exceedingly minor and typically carry no formal punishment.

“Many NCAA rules never stop from being a joke,” Vitale tweeted Friday after The Athletic published its story. “Go after schools buying & changing transcripts instead of dealing with nonsense like a pic with a recruit.”

The incident involving Vitale and prized power forward Vernon Carey is reminiscent of a similar one that occurred last year on the set of ESPN’s College GameDay In September 2017, five-star running back prospect Micah Parsons was granted credentialed access to the set and took pictures with Kirk Herbstriet, resulting in an NCAA violation. 

Neither Michigan State nor the NCAA likely would have known about the photo Vitale snapped with Carey were it not for an Ohio State fan with an axe to grind. Frustrated by what he perceived as a double standard after spotting Vitale’s photo on Twitter, Atlanta resident Brian Stewart told The Athletic that he fired off an email to Michigan State and the NCAA.

Vitale told The Athletic that he did not know about the NCAA rule, nor did he intend to give Michigan State any advantage in its recruitment of Carey. Whether it’s dancing with cheerleaders, posing with children or crowd surfing in the student section, Vitale has a long history of strolling around an arena to interact with fans before every college basketball game he calls.

It’s unlikely the Vitale photo will have any impact on Carey’s recruitment going forward. Carey, Rivals.com’s No. 1 prospect in the 2019 class, is expected to decide between Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Miami and North Carolina sometime later this year.


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Jeff Eisenberg is a college basketball writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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