NCAA puts LSU on probation for football recruiting violations

The NCAA penalized LSU’s football program Thursday for recruiting violations, imposing one year of probation and a limit of 55 official visits during the current academic year, the Committee on Infractions announced, among other penalties. A former assistant coach was given a three-year show cause. Although he was not named by the NCAA, it is understood to be former LSU offensive line coach James Cregg, according to sources and court records. LSU has already been operating under the official visit limit, according to sources.

Thursday’s announcement did not address an investigation into the men’s basketball program. LSU had previously received a notice of allegations.

Cregg was fired June 2, 2021, when former LSU coach Ed Orgeron handed him a letter with LSU’s intent to fire him for cause. Cregg had admitted to an NCAA enforcement official in May 2021 that he visited with a prospect and gave him gear during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, according to court documents that were filed as part of Cregg’s wrongful termination suit against LSU.

“You also admitted to knowing such contact was impermissible when you engaged in the conduct,” the letter from Orgeron said. “This knowing violation of NCAA rules constitutes cause under … the Employment Agreement.”

A Baton Rouge judge ruled Aug. 25 that Cregg was improperly fired because the NCAA had not determined he broke any rules or committed violations. LSU was ordered to pay the remaining $492,945 on his contract. LSU reportedly intends to appeal the ruling.

Cregg’s contract stated cause would include the NCAA ruling Cregg committed a Level I or Level II violation or multiple Level III or Level IV violations. The NCAA panel on Thursday classified Cregg’s case as Level-II aggravated.

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