By Carl Adamec
The NCAA has determined that UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma’s call to Little League baseball star Mo’ne Davis was a secondary rules violation.
“Over the last 24 hours, the University of Connecticut, the American Athletic Conference and the NCAA have been working together to determine whether a violation occurred when head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma spoke with Mo’ne Davis over the phone during the 2014 Little League World Series,” UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “The NCAA has determined a secondary rules violation of bylaw 126.96.36.199 did occur and while UConn accepts this decision, we do not agree with it.
“Prior to attempting to reach Davis, Coach Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department and was advised such a call would be permissible since Davis is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.
“While UConn will continue to adhere to the NCAA and conference rules, I believe that upon request from a friend to Geno, a proud Philadelphian, to call a young lady representing the City of Brotherly Love who had accomplished historic feats in the Little League World Series, should not constitute a violation especially due to the fact that NCAA rules do not classify Mo’ne as a prospective student-athlete.
“The nature of Coach Auriemma’s two-minute conversation with Mo’ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo’ne to continued success.
“I consider this matter closed and we will have no further comment.”
While meeting with the media Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion, Auriemma said that an anonymous school had reported him to the American Athletic Conference concerning his two-minute conversation with Davis, a 13-year-old eighth grader who has said that her dream was to play point guard for the University of Connecticut before moving on to the WNBA.
“That’s the world we live in,” Auriemma said Wednesday with a shake of the head. “It shows you what is wrong not only for things that go on but also with some of the people that I coach against.”
Davis became the first girl to pitch a World Series shutout when she blanked Nashville, Tennessee, in her team’s first game. She also threw a shutout in the Mid-Atlantic Regional final against Newark, Delaware.
When she wasn’t on the field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, she was shown in the stands wearing a UConn sweatshirt.
During the Series, somebody from the Philadelphia 76ers contacted Auriemma about Davis and he was contacted by the Little League World Series communications department. He called the office where Davis happened to be and she was put on the phone. Numerous media outlets reported that the two had spoken.
Auriemma has never seen Davis play and she’s nowhere to be found on UConn’s recruiting radar. Of course, that may change.
“I have no idea. I have no idea whether the kid’s any good, no good, a superstar or can even reach the basket,” Auriemma said. “I have no idea. No one that I know has seen her play. So I don’t know why that’s a violation.”