University of Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma has been hit with a complaint of a recruiting violation for a congratulatory call to Little League pitcher Mo’Ne Davis.
The 13-year-old Davis led her Philadelphia Little League team to the 2014 Little League World Series and became the first girl to pitch a shutout in series history. She is also the first Little League ball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After her whirlwind tour of baseball this year, Davis received a call from Auriemma to congratulate her on her success. But the call was viewed as a violation by an unnamed school because the teen had recently said that she’d like to play basketball for coach Auriemma at UConn.
In a statement, Auriemma said he was asked by someone at the Philadelphia 76ers to give young Davis a call “because she loves basketball, and congratulations or something seem in order.”
“The conversation lasted like two minutes and we hung up,” Auriemma said on Wednesday. “And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school…. That’s the world that we live in.”
The coach, though, scoffed at the charge saying that this girl is so far from college age that his phone call is meaningless where it concerns recruiting.
“I have no idea if the kid is very good, kind of good, not good at all or a superstar or can even reach the basket. How is that a violation?” he said.
Kids aren’t considered recruitment possibilities until they are in high school. Mo’Ne Davis is still in eighth grade. The NCAA defines an eligible recruitment prospect as “a student who has started classes for the ninth grade.”
Auriemma, who has led the Huskies to nine national titles, including the last two, also made a solid point about such violations, saying, “There are guys playing college basketball driving around in cars worth more than my house and we’re worried about a phone call to a little girl?”
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