On Wednesday afternoon the Florida Gators’ coaching staff underwent an unanticipated shakeup. Wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips resigned from his post, citing “personal reasons.” Acting quickly, Will Muschamp tabbed Chris Leak as UF’s new WRs coach.
Just 24 hours later, Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Phillips stepped down due to possible recruiting violations turned in to the NCAA by a person associated with the University of Miami.
Former University of Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips resigned this week after the NCAA received a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.
Three sources told Yahoo Sports the photo was turned over to the NCAA by an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes athletics program. Should the NCAA determine Phillips improperly recruited during a mandated dead period, it could be considered a major NCAA violation.
The level of contact Phillips had with the recruit is the important detail. While it could be a major NCAA violation, it’s not uncommon for recruiters to unexpectedly come in contact with high school athletes – what is referred to as a “bump.” According to two of Yahoo! Sports’ sources, this is reportedly what happened with Phillips and the recruit.
Two sources told Yahoo Sports that the encounter was described to the NCAA as a violation of the “bump rule” – a scenario in which a coach unexpectedly comes across a recruit and has an impermissible dialogue. Such an instance is considered a secondary violation by the NCAA. However, the violation can graduate to something more serious if the contact between a coach and recruit is premeditated or arranged – such as a dinner or social gathering – in which the coach would be deemed to be purposefully violating the recruiting dead period.
Phillips lasted just one year with the Gators. Prior to joining Florida’s staff he was the head coach at the University of Kentucky from 2010-12.