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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

School looks into possible violation by Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt

Washington officials are investigating whether the football coach and the assistant broke NCAA rules on recruiting.

January 29, 2009|Gary Klein

University of Washington compliance officials are investigating whether football Coach Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Nick Holt violated NCAA rules by allowing a reporter and a high school junior to attend a recruiting meeting that was detailed in a story by The Times.

Sarkisian and Holt last week met with Los Angeles Jordan High senior James Boyd, a quarterback and defensive end who has committed to USC, along with Jordan Coach Elijah Asante, senior Delvon Purvis and junior Deshawn Beck. The focus of the story, published Wednesday, was how colleges, in an effort to land star players, often offer scholarships to their more lightly regarded teammates.

Times reporter Ben Bolch detailed the meetings between the Washington coaches and the players and their high school coach at a Los Angeles hair salon and, later, at a coffee house.

NCAA rules forbid coaches to allow media representatives to be present during recruiting contacts.

They also forbid off-campus recruiting contacts with players before July 1 after the completion of their junior year of high school.

John Morris, Washington's director for compliance, said "there's a couple of statements in the article that could mean we broke the rules.

"It's not some huge violation, it's definitely secondary."

Sarkisian, USC's former offensive coordinator, was hired in December to replace Tyrone Willingham. Sarkisian began working full time after the Trojans' Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. He hired Holt, USC's former defensive coordinator, a few weeks ago.

This is the second time in two weeks that the Washington football program has come under scrutiny regarding recruiting.

Last week, Washington reported to the NCAA that it had committed a secondary recruiting violation related to game-day simulations while recruits are on campus.

The violation came to light after Desmond Trufant, who has committed to the Huskies, described to a website a simulated game-day entrance during his on-campus visit.

An NCAA bylaw prohibits prospects from participating in any type of "game-day simulations" during a visit, but the violation is considered minor.

Jim Muldoon, spokesman for the Pacific 10 Conference, said he was not aware of whether conference officials had been contacted by Washington or other schools about the latest possible violations.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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