ASU athletics director says NCAA investigation won’t overshadow football season; expert calls it ‘PR nightmare’

ASU coach Herm Edwards talks with now-sophomore offensive lineman Dohnovan West (61) on the sideline on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah/ Photo by Valerie Moffat | The State Press

By Anne Ryman, Jeff Metcalfe | Arizona Republic

One day after explosive allegations that Arizona State University’s football program may have committed recruiting violations by bringing in high school athletes during the time when recruiting was banned because of COVID-19, the man in charge of athletics said he doesn’t believe the NCAA investigation will bog down the season. 

ASU Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson, in a wide-ranging interview with The Arizona Republic on Thursday, declined to discuss specifics because of NCAA protocol. But when pressed whether the investigation would overwhelm the season, he firmly said “no.”

“We’re going forward. That’s something that we can’t control. It can’t be something that bogs us down. We’re heading forward with our off-season. And now we’re going to get ready to bring them in,” he said of the players. 

Anderson’s upbeat attitude was not shared by Alicia Jessop, an associate professor of sports law at Pepperdine University. She described the allegations that ASU had violated college athletics’ recruiting “dead period” as a “PR nightmare” that could have major implications for Sun Devil football. 

“If the allegations are true, these were definitely intentional violations,” she said. “Anyone who even had six degrees of separation from college sports realized the NCAA was in a recruiting dead period during the pandemic. The biggest reason was safety.”

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