Turns out Derek Dooley knows how to Facebook.
The Tennessee coach even has it on his mobile phone, but has, on at least one occasion, pushed the wrong button.
For that, he was forced to report an NCAA secondary violation, according to documents obtained by the News Sentinel.
Dooley violated NCAA bylaw 18.104.22.168 on June 3 when he inadvertently posted a message on four-star high school tight end Nick O’Leary’s Facebook wall.
According to the bylaw, “electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent to a prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete’s parents or legal guardians) is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles.”
This secondary violation, coupled with another recently learned self-reported transgression involving 26 football players receiving improper benefits from Bar Knoxville, constitute the first known violations involving the UT football team since Dooley took over as coach in January. Under Lane Kiffin in 2009, the Vols committed at least six secondary violations.
According to the report, which was filed Aug. 11 and drafted by associate athletic director for compliance Brad Bertani, Dooley had been “permissibly communicating” with O’Leary through the e-mail function on Facebook. When he received an e-mail from O’Leary on June 3, Dooley, using a Motorola Droid, mistakenly sent his message to O’Leary’s wall, which, depending on how O’Leary configured his privacy settings, could be viewed by all 500 million Facebook members.
The wall posting has since been deleted.
UT and Dooley became aware of the mistake when the SEC notified it of a potential violation. When informed, Dooley and his staff were not allowed to contact O’Leary through any type of medium for two weeks.
O’Leary was not aware that Dooley’s wall message was impermissible, according to the report. Dooley, meanwhile, was “well aware” that it was a violation to post on a prospect’s wall and does not have a track record of doing it in the past.
Dooley’s message was not “a typical wall posting one would make on Facebook” and “is more consistent with a private, personal e-mail,” according to a list of mitigating factors in the report.
Dooley was instructed not to use his phone to respond to Facebook messages and was set to receive “technical instruction in the use of the Facebook application on his mobile phone.” Education of NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124 was also provided to his entire staff.
Dooley is the sole proprietor of his Facebook account and does not allow other members of his staff to access it, according to the report.
O’Leary, who attends Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Fla., is considered the nation’s top tight end in the Class of 2011, according to Rivals.com. He is no longer considering the Vols and is set to announce his college decision at the Army All-American Game in San Antonio on Jan. 8.
Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/