Arizona State working toward NCAA resolution that would avoid bowl ban, per report
Arizona State expects to avoid a postseason ban as punishment for a two-plus-year investigation into alleged recruiting violations under previous coach Herm Edwards.
According to a report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, ASU is making progress toward a negotiated resolution with the NCAA that could include a fine, recruiting sanctions, and show-cause penalties for Edwards and other members of his staff. After the school self-imposed a bowl ban for the 2023 season, the expectation is that no further postseason ban will be handed down, according to the report.
Edwards was fired in September of 2022, one day after the Sun Devils lost at home to Eastern Michigan 30-21. He returned to ESPN as an analyst in early November of that same year. Antonio Pierce, Edwards’ defensive coordinator at ASU and a central figure in the NCAA investigation, is currently with the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL.
Pierce was one of five assistants on Edwards’ staff who were either fired or resigned in light of the NCAA investigation. Dodd reported that while other assistants cooperated with the NCAA investigation in order to mitigate possible sanctions, it’s unclear if Pierce did the same.
At the heart of the NCAA investigation are allegations that Pierce — who was also ASU’s recruiting coordinator — and Edwards participated in impermissible local meetings with recruits during the recruiting dead period brought on by COVID in 2020.
ASU president Michael Crow publicly denied that Edwards was part of any rule-breaking, and the school paid Edwards 50% of his buyout following what it called a “mutual parting of ways.” The NCAA reportedly has photographic evidence that showed Edwards escorting a recruit around the school’s weight room during the dead period.
Last summer, the NCAA handed Tennessee five years probation, an $8 million fine, and recruiting sanctions for what it called one of the worst infractions cases the NCAA COI had seen. The Volunteers were alleged to have committed more than 200 rules infractions, including 18 Level I violations. But the NCAA stopped short of issuing a postseason ban.
In the NCAA’s eyes, a negotiated resolution sees both sides agree on the “violation, level, classification, and penalties.” Such a resolution is subject to approval by the NCAA’s COI.