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South Carolina hit with recruiting restrictions following violations by former assistant

South Carolina has been hit with a handful of recruiting restrictions due to violations committed by a former assistant coach, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

The NCAA did not name the assistant in its release, but sources confirmed to FootballScoop that the assistant is Lance Thompson.

Thompson was South Carolina's assistant head coach for defense and defensive line coach from 2016-18. He now works as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida Atlantic. Thompson was ranked as the No. 1 recruiter in the nation by ESPN in 2014 and the Rivals Recruiter of the Year in 2008.

According to the NCAA's committee on infractions, Thompson sent an impermissible text message to a sophomore recruit the day after the recruit took an unofficial visit to South Carolina. Thompson also texted the recruit to notify him he would visit his high school the following day and would like to meet him in person at that time.

NCAA rules mandate that coaches cannot text recruits until after their sophomore year, and off-campus contacts are not permitted until after a recruit's junior year.

The NCAA's committee on infractions, South Carolina and Thompson mutually agreed on the facts at hand, according to the NCAA's release. Rather than a formal hearing, the parties engaged in a "negotiated resolution process," which nullifies the need for a hearing and void's the parties' right to an appeal.

Per those negotiations, South Carolina will be hit with the following sanctions:

  • A $10,000 fine.
  • A prohibition of off-campus football recruiting activity during the first two weeks of the spring 2019 evaluation period and the first four weeks of the fall 2019 evaluation period.
  • A reduction of football evaluation days by 12 for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • A restriction on all telephone and text communications with football prospects for two weeks beginning Sept. 1, 2019.
  • The head football coach may have only off-campus contact with 10 prospects during the fall 2019 contact period.
  • One year of probation.
  • One-on-one rules education for the head coach regarding NCAA contact and evaluation rules, completed in May 2019.
  • The university ended the recruitment of the prospect.

Additionally, Thompson was hit with a 1-year show-cause penalty. He must also be suspended for one game during the 2019 football season and cannot engage in off-campus recruiting during the fall 2019 evaluation period.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.