October 31, 2010
In a story that sounds as though it could have been lifted straight out of an episode of MTV's "Punk'd," celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore may have violated NCAA rules on behalf of the Iowa men's basketball program.
The Des Moines Register reported Sunday that Iowa athletic officials have told the NCAA they allowed two recruits to meet Kutcher, Moore and ex-Hawkeye basketball stars Dean Oliver and Reggie Evans prior to a home football game last month.
Kutcher, an Iowa native and Hawkeyes fan and donor, is considered a representative of the university's athletic interests, as are Oliver and Evans. The NCAA prohibits potential recruits from having any contact with such individuals as a result of the undue influence they could have on the recruiting process.
A juicy story like this one is sure to garner plenty of headlines over the next few days because of Kutcher and Moore's involvement, but the truth is that these potential violations are not that big of a deal.
Whether it's North Carolina recruits playing pick-up games with Michael Jordan or former Ohio State receiver Cris Carter encouraging Seantrel Henderson to become a Buckeye, encounters between recruits and celebrity alums happen all the time. The vast majority of these infractions either go unreported or become secondary violations, which provide only minimal recruiting or competitive advantage and typically carry only minor consequences.
Documents obtained by the Register block out the names of the two recruits involved in the potential violations at Iowa, but a quick Internet search reveals the two were likely guards Josh Oglesby and Marcus Paige. Oglesby, who committed to new Iowa coach Fran McCaffery in late September, previously told IlliniHQ.com that he was excited to meet Kutcher during the Iowa-Iowa State football game he attended on his official visit.
"He was cool," Oglesby said. "You know, some of those actors or actresses might just say, 'Hey, how you doing?' But he just sat there and talked your ears off."
[Related: Moore, Kutcher pack on PDA for the cameras]
"Seeing a Hollywood star that you've seen in all those movies was really cool," Paige said.