BUFFS

Two major schools that recruited against Prime under fire for NIL violations

Jan 31, 2024, 12:27 PM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Two of Deion Sanders biggest recruiting wins as a college football coach became even more interesting in recent weeks.

Sanders made national headlines, while at Jackson State for flipping the country’s best high school prospect Travis Hunter from Florida State to the HBCU school. Sanders wasn’t just going against a power in the Seminoles but his old program and one that past him over when hiring multiple head coaches. Hunter, of course, has transferred to Colorado as Sanders now leads the Buffaloes and the two-way player has blossomed into one of the nation’s best players.

Similarly, Prime scored a big win last month when he nabbed the top prep offensive lineman, Jordan Seaton, away from multiple contenders led by Tennessee. In need of serious protection help, for quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Coach Prime rebuilt the offensive line this winter with Seaton being a key cog.

In the last month, both Florida State and Tennessee have come under the scope for how they operate their NIL collectives.

The Seminoles were hit with unprecedented wide-ranging sanctions for transgressions during a spring 2022 recruiting event. The school was hit with two years of probation, scholarship reductions for two years, a reduction in recruiting and portal time, as well as a 1% financial penalty of the entire athletic department’s budget. This event was in no way directly tied to Sanders or Hunter but it does show that even before the NCAA applied new tougher NIL rules, Florida State was breaking the old ones. The main breach in this case came from an assistant coach putting NIL ahead of commitment.

Tennessee came under investigation this week for possible “major” violations, according to SI. The school was already hit with 18 Level 1 violations last summer and now could be facing more Level 1 and Level 2 breaches. Tennesse has denied any rule-breaking and is fighting the NCAA on any wrongdoing in this investigation. Again this case has nothing to do directly with Colorado, Sanders or Seaton that we know about so far, but it does show the possibility of a repeat offender with the NCAA’s worst destination, lack of institutional control, being thrown around.

What we’re now seeing from the NCAA is the organization somewhat fighting back after several years where many have said the athletics body had lost control between NIL and Portal. Some would argue their control is unjust to begin with since NIL was birthed out of law forced upon the NCAA and similarly some restrictions in the Portal have been thrown out by courts.

At the same time that these cases brew, 11 self-reported violations at Colorado were made public last week. All of which were minor and didn’t come close to rising to the level of what Sanders is potentially recruiting against. And despite many jokes about Sanders all-out approach to the portal and how he may use NIL—any rule breaches while he’s been in Boulder so far have been slight.

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Two major schools that recruited against Prime under fire for NIL violations