LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville assistant football coach Clint Hurtt was hit with a version the NCAA's harshest penalty -- a two-year show cause order -- for his role in a long running recruiting scandal at the University of Miami, but measures adopted within the NCAA's public report could lead to his continued employment by U of L, though the school has yet to respond to today's findings.
A show-cause order means any penalties assigned to him by the NCAA will follow him, and could attach to the institution, for the duration of the penalty, which the NCAA has assigned as Oct. 21, 2015.
Officially, the NCAA report says that Hurtt -- who is not mentioned by name -- "knowingly engaged in unethical conduct, including the offer of impermissible inducements and benefits and providing false and misleading information to the enforcement staff in the investigation of this case."
Hurt was recruiting coordinator at Miami from 2007 to 2009, during which booster Nevin Shapiro is found to have provided benefits to players in ways large and small. Shapiro's story unwound during Federal prosecution of a Ponzi scheme he was running, and a subsequent report by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.
The NCAA has been investigating and holding hearings for the past 2 1/2 years, but its process has met with resistance and criticism throughout, particularly after it sanctioned its own enforcement staff for improper conduct in the investigation of the case.
As part of Hurtt's penalties, the NCAA acknowledged that U of L had banned the coach from recruiting during the 2011 evaluation period and for two weeks during the spring of 2011. It also enacted a five-month suspension from March 11 to August 1 of this year, during which Hurtt was prohibited from taking part in any coaching responsibility, including being present in the football office.
Additionally, U of L will ban Hurtt from recruiting in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014, freeze his compensation and deny any bonuses or performance incentives for two years, require his attendance at NCAA regional rules seminars at his own cost and institute a "zero tolerance" policy on any violations -- including secondary violations -- through his 2014-15 contract year.
Should Hurtt change jobs, any new school that wants to hire him will have to appear before an NCAA committee to determine whether it must adopt those same restrictions.
The NCAA report outlines the friendship between Hurtt and Shapiro, and notes that Hurtt began to talk with Shapiro about recruiting and then to facilitate meetings between recruits and the booster. As recruiting coordinator, Hurtt was the person to whom NCAA concerns with recruiting were to be reported by members of the coaching staff. When another member of the staff brought concerns to Hurtt about interaction with Shapiro, the NCAA report says that Hurtt called the interaction "incidental contact."
In a footnote, the report says that Hurtt had an unregistered cell phone on which he made calls to fly under compliance radar. A prospect told the NCAA he called that his "bat phone."
The NCAA documented several instances of Hurtt arranging for benefits to be provided to recruits, or of providing impermissible transportation or lodging to them.
It also said that he "was not forthcoming during his interviews with the enforcement staff and the institution about the role he played in providing and arranging the benefits or inducements during their unofficial visits." It also said he denied some of the arrangements the NCAA found to be factual. It said, "Because former assistant football coach B (Hurtt) provided impermissible benefits and inducements, the committee concludes that he committed unethical conduct. Further, because former assistant football coach B was not forthcoming and provided false and misleading information to the enforcement staff and the institution when being interviewed about his conduct, the committee concludes that the facts constitute an additional violation of unethical conduct."
U of L has not yet responded to this morning's report. Athletic director Tom Jurich has said that as long as Hurtt cooperated with the NCAA in its investigation, he would stand behind him. Today's report finds that the NCAA does not believe Hurtt was forthcoming.
The coach does have an appeals process at his disposal. He can respond in writing to the NCAA within 15 days to request an appeals hearing, which could mean several more months before a final disposition of his case.