NCAA gives LSU football one-year probation, limits recruiting visits
BATON ROUGE – The NCAA determined on Thursday that LSU football must pay a self-imposed $5,000 fine, be limited to 55 official recruiting visits during the 2022-23 academic year and will be on probation for one year, among other punishments.
LSU's probation does not include a bowl ban.
The NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions panel ruled that LSU had broken recruiting rules during the COVID-19 dead period, when former offensive line coach James Cregg and an unidentified former assistant director of recruiting met with a prospective athlete and "provided the prospect with impermissible recruiting inducements."
Cregg was also handed a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA.
“Today’s decision of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions involving a former LSU assistant football coach concludes a 21-month cooperative process between the University and the NCAA," LSU wrote in a statement. "Throughout this process, the University has worked in concert with the enforcement staff to determine the truth and to self-impose sanctions. We are grateful to the Committee and the enforcement staff for their work and for accepting our self-imposed penalties, and we are pleased to be able to move forward as an institution and as a football program. LSU continues to work through the IARP process regarding other allegations of rule violations.”
Cregg filed a lawsuit against the university in August 2021, alleging that LSU fired him in June "for a cause that did not exist," his attorneys Chris Whittington and Robb Campbell told The Advertiser last month. A Baton Rouge judge ruled in August 2022 that LSU must pay Cregg $492,945.20 for improperly firing him for cause.
Prior to Thursday's ruling, the NCAA had not levied any punishments against Cregg. The NCAA's Notice of Allegations in March also had no mention of Cregg.
The money owed to Cregg included his remaining salary from June 17, 2021, to March 31, 2022. But it did not include an eight-day stretch in February and all of in March 2022 in which his current employer, the San Francisco 49ers, covered his compensation.
In a statement released to The Advertiser in August, LSU had planned to appeal the court ruling. Given Thursday's decision from the NCAA, outlining Cregg's wrongdoing, the university's stance on an appeal will be emboldened.
“We will pursue all legal options available to us including appealing. Today’s decision by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions affirms LSU’s response to the allegations arising out of Coach Cregg’s conduct," LSU wrote in a second statement released Thursday. "Coach Cregg admitted under oath that he contacted and provided athletic gear to a recruit after being warned by compliance staff of the COVID-based no-contact period with recruits. This type of intentional and knowing conduct was charged as a Level II violation by NCAA enforcement staff, and the NCAA Committee on Infractions concluded it was a Level II-aggravated violation for Coach Cregg and constitutes a Level II-mitigated violation for LSU. The university was given credit for responding promptly in terminating Cregg and self-imposing penalties, which the committee accepted. We believe this decision fully supports the hard work of our athletics compliance staff and our decision regarding this coach.”
Cregg served as LSU's offensive line coach for three seasons, leading the unit to win the Joe Moore Award in 2019 as the nation's best offensive line. His replacement, former Arkansas offensive line coach Brad Davis, was hired in June 2021 and still holds the position.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.