ESPN tour to UConn recruit raises questions

An ESPN report might have shed some light on why Tennessee decided to end its women’s basketball series with Connecticut. Interestingly, the report involves ESPN itself.

Connecticut has responded to NCAA concerns that its women’s basketball office helped arrange a private tour of the Bristol, Conn.-based sports and entertainment network complex for then-top recruit Maya Moore.

The tour, which might have violated NCAA rules because it might be considered an extra benefit, took place in October 2005 and included Moore and her mother, Kathryn.

Citing two sources, ESPN reported that the tour amounted to a secondary rules violation.

Citing the same unidentified sources, ESPN reported Wednesday the NCAA began looking into the tour after fielding a complaint from the SEC over concerns raised by Tennessee.

Moore, a 6-foot forward, signed with the Huskies and was named the Big East Conference player of the year this season — a first for a freshman.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt offered no comment on the matter, a stance she has maintained since UT declined to renew the series contract last spring.

“I’m focusing on the team and trying to figure out how we can get to Tampa,’’ said Summitt, referring to the site of the Women’s Final Four.

The recruitment of Moore was believed to be a factor in UT’s decision to discontinue the high-profile series with Connecticut, which began in 1995.

UConn declined Wednesday to say whether the school self-reported the incident or whether the NCAA considered it a violation and offered a brief statement.

“The institution has worked with the NCAA on the matter and the association has taken no action,” the school said.

Stacey Osburn, a spokeswoman for the NCAA said the organization does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations. Osburn said the NCAA has two categories for violations — major and secondary. A secondary violation is one that is inadvertent in nature or doesn’t represent a “significant competitive advantage.”

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz confirmed that the network set up the tour for Moore and her mother after being contacted by a member of the UConn women’s basketball office. The Storrs campus is about an hour drive from the Bristol studios.

Because of the questions raised over the tour, ESPN has changed its policy on how tours are arranged, Krulewitz said.

“To avoid any concern in the future, our tour policy will prohibit high school athletes from receiving tours at the request of a college or university athletic officials,” Krulewitz said.

Calling About Caldwell: Summitt said that Memphis associate athletic director Lynn Parkes has called, inquiring about Lady Vols assistant coach Nikki Caldwell regarding Memphis’ head coaching opening.

Summitt said that she told Parkes, “There’s definitely going to be interest in her.”

There also are head coaching openings at UCLA and Alabama.

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Comments » 92

pdhuff#552644 writes:

What did you expect from Geno?

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

This was a neat trick by geno to get attention and benefits for connecticut and his recruit. Had the Lady VOLS even considered such a venture, the local and national hyenas would have gleefully reported it to every site they thought might give them some notoriety and the Lady VOLS Program some grief. In Connecticut, though, it is not even reported until the girl's eligibilty is out and then as a "minor" aberration of ncaa rules. john adams would have had a field day with this had it been in knoxville.

MrBamSeydu writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

mastergardenerlou writes:

Geno macoroni should resign or be fired'What a Jerk'

tigervol9802 writes:

Om the subject of cheating, Summitt should have forfeited the Rutgers game too.

GreerVol22 writes:

yemm,
Geno and John are not that much different. Neither one knows anything about writing or football.

GreerVol22 writes:

tigervol,
Just like Florida should forfeit that game when Gaffney (I think) "caught" that TD pass in the end-zone. right?

volman5 writes:

tigervol,

yes..because SHE cheated and all. Are you crazy?!? What makes you think that is her fault at all? Did she stare at the clock long enough to make it freeze? Did SHE personally go over and push the button to make it stop? I know it is unfortunate to Rutgers, they played a great game...and well enough to win. But here is the thing, stuff like this happens all the time in basketball, at work, and in life. Vivian and all the haters need to just get over it. For instance, did it ever occur to them or anyone else that had Rutgers held their lead, or played just a little better and had a bigger lead, that the late foul never would have mattered. Heck, all they had to do was hit ONE more free throw and it would not have even been an issue

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Go figure Geno cant win against Pat so he has to turn to questionable tactics to get recruits to sign with him the truth be told there might be more to whats going on in Uconns backyard. I mean look they have such good role models up in the area look at the Patriots Geno and Bill must have dinner together every night and discuss how he can cheat his way past Pat.

bigbluevol writes:

Summitt shouldn't have forfeited the Rutgers game. She didn't cheat. The clock error was due to the referees. They're part of the game. That's the way it goes. If it had been the other way around, Rutgers wouldn't have forfeited to us. Not only that, but a lot of it was made worse because it was Rutgers and people still feel badly about the controversy last year from the Imus situation. The game is over, the result is in. Move on.

ATLVOLFAN writes:

I agree with "volman5" Rutgers should of stop Bobbitt and Angie from hitting those three pointers. Geno have and always will be a jerk so lets not worry about this issue, lets focus on supporting the lady vols to win another championship.Go Vols!!!!!

tigervol9802 writes:

Not really.

Spurrier never played the I'm holier than all of you card like Summitt has recently. She had a chance to practice what she preaches, that she will only play or win by the rules, and she just walked away and took her win when it was fairly obvious she was a benefactor of some home cooking.

What's the difference?

bigbluevol writes:

Are you serious? Spurrier played the "I'm smarter and better than you" card all the time. He took a very controversial win in 2000 in Knoxville. UCLA has taken two this week. That's the way it goes. Human error happens. Again, would Rutgers have given the game back? No.

VolFan32 writes:

Word on the street is Summitt knew about this and this is the reason she cancelled the series.

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

The Lady Vols had nothing to do with the clock aberration in the Rutgers game. The whole operation is run electronically by the sec's system. If that was a benefit favorable to the LADY VOLS, it is the first I have seen since I returned to Tennessee in 1984. I have seen many that went against them during that period. It is my opinion that john adams was sent to knoxville with the same mission al browning had and that was to denigrate everything the VOLS do. I would still like to find out what caused the animas of the media toward the VOLS. Up until 1972 when I moved out-of-state, the University was respected except by the sec which let bryant use his 31-foot chain
on the sidelines, among other things. When I came back in 1984, every game we have played since is like a game away from home. Every other team has the 'home field' advantage, even in Neyland Stadium.

murrayvol writes:

bigblue: I have a hard time writing off the Cal hosing to human error. To screw up that much in such a short time frame requires a Herculean effort.

soddydaisy777 writes:

I wish that the NCAA burn UConn bad.

lewhs93#205993 writes:

GENO the CHEATO.

coach75 writes:

tigervol,
you have some of the most asinine statements i have ever seen. do you think c viv. would have given that game to the lvols if the shoe went the other way? answer is no, she would have taken it and the number one ranking and not said another word about it. truth be told, georgia brought this up to the ncaa before tennesee said anything. as said earlier, andy landers questioned the whole recruiting process of the girl from his state. fact is geno has finally been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and espn will try to do anything they can to turn it into someone else's fault. will anything major happen? probably not, because no one wants to listen to geno whine about how he is being mistreated. geno could never be the coon on pat's deck because he is a female dog. that's putting it as politely as i can.

pendav#661488 writes:

Hey UT fans

Give me a break. I'm sure Maya Moore Didn't tour ESPN & say "what a great tour, I think I will go to Uconn"

Cherokee writes:

It's about time ESPN/ABC got called out for some of this kind of stuff. ESPN has for too long now lost sight of their responsibility to report the news, instead going out of their way to become part of the story. From their shameless campaigning for Charles Woodson for the Heisman to making a decision to host this tour which is an obvious assistance to their beloved UConn, the folks in charge there need to review. Just a few months ago, there was some talking head on ESPN opining that Terrell Pryor, nation's #1 QB prospect, should go to Ohio State. They have no business doing that, especially with the clear conflict of interest in the fact that ABC has a contract to broadcast Big Ten games.

Hacksaw57 writes:

Guys, the comments from tigervol9802 comes from a school that screwed teams REGULARLY with clock "mismanagement" EVERY Saturday on the football field when they were behind in the last 5 minutes of their home games. Just ask Ole Miss alumni back in the 60's and 70's.
They were the ULTIMATE home cooking clock managers of all time.

richvol writes:

I would like to know exactly what Andy Landers said about this girl's recruitment. Does anyone know of a link to read what was said?

Cherokee writes:

Hey pendav, who knows? Apparently the people at UConn who arranged it thought it would help. Hey, I wonder if maybe that's the reason they did it. Bottom line is it's quite likely a violation, and one that I feel certain the people at UConn and ESPN probably knew to be so. Anyone should have been able to look at that and see a potential problem.

utahvolsfan56 writes:

Summit has complained about this since Mya Moore signed with UCONN. I find it interesting good ole Debby Jennings (heavy weight wrestler)and side kick Summit wait until the tournament is about to start and are again whinning. If it's not CP getting hurt to much on the court, Duke crazies it has to be some other drama. Has Summit lost the confidence in her team for a repeat?So far the Lady Vols post play looks great.

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Lady vol fans we know we get disrespected at all times in almost every sport, when we where #1 in mens basketball to espn we were not as good as unc or kansas. Espn will do anything to help a team in which they pull to gain an advantage i watch college gameday with corso and crew and all you hear is Ohio State, Michigan, and USC. They said Ohio State would beat LSU and Florida no respect for SEC. We maybe had a chance to get Mya, but if she decided to play for a team with that type of questionable character, you wonder what her character is like.

Cherokee writes:

utahvolsfan56, I read the article and don't see anything that suggests that Summitt said anything about this recently. It only says that UConn has responded to NCAA concerns. I would guess that the complaint, legitimate from what I can tell, was made much earlier and is only now being responded to. The idea that Summitt is a whiner and has lost confidence in her team is silly. If she was one who raised concerns, I don't blame her a bit. This looks like a pretty clear conflict of interest to me, and quite likely an "extra benefit". How does pointing that out amount to "whining"?

usmcladyvolfan writes:

utahvolsfan, Pat has nothing to whine about she and the lady vols have already proved theirselves, but she also has morals and when you got fans being inmature and coaches with no character like Geno she needs to call them out, because has she got to where she is doing questionable tactics no name me any violation she has got her team. wait a minute none. Let me ask you a question im in the Marines and where taught honesty and integrity, if you where a coach or just a normal person at a job and one of your peers or fellow coaches was doing things that you and he both knew where questionable and wrong, but yet you where working just as hard or harder doing things the right way, would you sit back and let things fly, i hope not because a person with integrity and a leader would step up and do or say something about it.

utahvolsfan56 writes:

Since we are on the subject of morals and what is ethical and right I guess you all support BP coping a feel of the female sportscaster during halftime of the Memphis/TN game. Yes this was shown on national TV espn. In reading Sports Illustated magazine this was also brought up in article in which BP was being interviewed. Lets talk in appropriate.

utahvolsfan56 writes:

Since we are on the subject of morals and what is ethical and right I guess you all support BP coping a feel of the female sportscaster during halftime of the Memphis/TN game. Yes this was shown on national TV espn. In reading Sports Illustated magazine this was also brought up in article in which BP was being interviewed. Lets talk in appropriate.

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Wow utah vols fan its not like he coped a feel of her butt or boobs, he was asked what memphis had been doing to chris and he was trying to get a point out very excitedly they where hugging him and holding him nothing wrong with a bear hug from coach pearl. I just guess your a self proclaimed vol fan who will try to find anything wrong with perfection and thats what we got going on in both basketball programs.

rootin4volz writes:

Hey bradsummey, er, yemmusdarb...Who's the redneck now? Hahahahaha! Chauvinist idiot.

cdldoc#211897 writes:

Yeah, Bruce is the Man. And you are a pissant whiner, utah.

Cherokee writes:

utahvolsfan, you're being ridiculous and you know it. I doubt seriously that you are a Vol fan at all, but are either just here to stir up trouble, or truly an imbecile. "Copping a feel"? Good grief, that's completely asinine.

ps11824 writes:

What a feeding frenzy this has turned into. Who cares who did what and when. Fact is, if they violated the NCAA rules, they need to be held accountable. Teams have been fined big time for less.

feathersax writes:

Geno "I'm-an-enema" & ESPN...paraoid anti-UT freaks joined at the hip. Nice to see 'em squirm.

TommyJack writes:

UtahVolsFan: I know what copping a feel is. That was NOT copping a feel.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

ah, I don't know... I think there is something else that turned CPS against the series.

Fact of the matter is that Uconn has Maya Moore and we do not.

usmcladyvolfan writes:

mparker who cares about mya we got candace who needs mya when you have the best womens basketball player in the nation.

manateemo writes:

so with all the crazy and rediculus charges by Tenn and the sec it comes down when Moore and mom were in Connecticut, they asked if they could see ESPN and someone at the school made a call. Good reason to cancel the most hyped Ladies game in the country. and the response by some of the Tenn fans shows where their heads are firmly planted

ODA751 writes:

There are a few ways to look at this.
1. Uconn breaks NCAA rules by setting up a tour to ESPN.
2. ESPN is "helping" Uconn recruit inadvertantly.

I'm not a rules expert but if ESPN is in my backyard, I'd mention it to recruits as well. So Uconn set up a tour, that's no big deal until you consider who the tour is set up with. ESPN is not some local media source. As far as sports go, they are the #1 source in the world. They are very powerful and have influenced many sporting events through their reporting/lobbying for athletes and teams. (Influenced as in rankings or seeding of athletes/teams) If I were a woman's basketball coach, I would be worried that ESPN is helping Uconn recruit. If the members/staff of ESPN constantly see Uconn recruits coming in and out of their station, isn't it fair to assume that the station feels some sort of allegiance to Uconn. That's pretty screwed up.

GreerVol22 writes:

utahvol, the only one who has lost confidence is that coon in Pat's back yard.

pendav, you said
Give me a break. I'm sure Maya Moore Didn't tour ESPN & say "what a great tour, I think I will go to Uconn"

I think thats exactly what she did and its what started all this phooey.

KennesawVol writes:

Just win, and media bias takes care of itself.

Cherokee writes:

manateemo, you might be the one who needs to extract cranium from rectum. I think there are a couple of reasons that Summitt cancelled the series. And the way you try to spin the tour of ESPN as if it was just some benevolent kind soul at UConn helping out a poor mother and her child is funny. The reality is that UConn probably knew darn well that what they were doing was a potential problem (they should have, any thinking person could see the issue here), and ESPN probably did too. Yes, it is a recruiting advantage and was reported as it should have been.

ceweaver#211008 writes:

Has anyone heard anything about UCONN's newest recruit, Elena Della Donne, being involved in an illegal endorsement?

adimatteo#261830 writes:

First I hate UCONN and Geno, but reality is, not that big adeal
No one can ever take away the role UT and Summitt has had on ladys BB. Fact is thought these girls today in high school, grew up when many schools developed programse, thus they dont just know UT, they grew up with UCONN, NC, DUKE, LSU, STANFORD. etc.
Thus as said before, game has grown and has grwon for the better for other schools and the kids, its harder to stay on top, get the best. They now have other options, and if they want to stay closer to home and still play for a good program, chnaces are, theyc an. Doesnt take away what we do or have done at UT.
More importantly, I hope Caldwell stays!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Nothing will come of this. ZZZZzzzzzz.

10eceeVol4ever writes:

I agree with Cherokee. How in the world can you have so called experts like Jay Bilas and others working for you, and not know this was wrong. It is a secondary violation, probably nothing will happen, but it is still a violation. The bias against Tennessee is real. Just this morning, Jay bilas stated that the 4 #1 seeds should be NC, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas. His reason was that these were the 4 best teams, in his opinion. I"m telling you right now that ESPN is lobbying hard for these 4 teams. Tennessee will have to win the SEC Tournament to get a #1. That is the reality of the influence that ESPN has on the sporting culture of America.

DaveVol writes:

Wasn't Tarosi (or however you spell her name) involved with this somehow?

Volunatic writes:

Every coach and player rubs up against Erin Andrews when she interviews them-- I've seen it happen in dozens of games.
It seems like she encourages them to do so. Do you think she got her job because she is so knowledgeable about sports?
Besides, Bruce is single now. Way to go, BRUUUUUUUCE!

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