The NCAA has placed the Arizona State football on probation for four years, as well as penalized former football staffers for their roles in Level I-mitigated violations that occurred mostly during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, the organization announced Friday.

The penalties also include an undisclosed fine, a self-imposed postseason ban for the 2023 season, vacation of records for contests in which ineligible student-athletes competed, scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions. The four staffers also agreed to, or did not contest, show-cause penalties for a period ranging from three to 10 years.

In addition, Arizona State must disassociate from an unnamed booster for five years.

Arizona State and the four former staff members agreed upon the penalties, which were announced Friday. Two individuals are contesting portions of their cases through a written record hearing. A Committee on Infractions panel will release its full decision once that process is completed.

“Arizona State’s cooperation throughout the investigation and processing of this case was exemplary, and the cooperation began with the leadership shown by the university president,” Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma and chief hearing officer for the Committee on Infractions panel said. “The school’s acceptance of responsibility and decision to self-impose meaningful core penalties is a model for all schools to follow and is consistent with the expectations of the NCAA’s infractions program.”

Arizona State’s case dates to the spring of 2021, when coach Herm Edwards ran the program and relied heavily on recruiting coordinator and associate head coach Antonio Pierce. Fired in 2022, Edwards has since returned to ESPN, where he previously worked as an NFL football studio analyst. Pierce, one of several coaches who departed the program in the wake of the investigation, is the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Per the NCAA, the agreed-upon violations included impermissible in-person recruiting contact during the COVID-19 dead period, put in place for the safety of coaches and recruits. They also included improper recruiting inducements, impermissible tryouts and tampering. The negotiated resolution also found underlying violations that revealed unethical conduct by involved individuals and a head coach responsibility violation.

The report noted several individuals failed to cooperate with the investigation. Arizona State also agreed the athletic department failed to monitor its football program.

Vice president of athletics Ray Anderson resigned in November under intense fire from fans. Deputy Athletics Director Jean Boyd, who previously oversaw the football program, announced he will step down this summer for family reasons. Arizona State has yet to hire a permanent replacement for Anderson.

Despite those who failed to cooperate, the NCAA praised Arizona State and President Michael Crow for their cooperation throughout a lengthy process that irritated a frustrated fan base. The investigation and potential penalties hurt Arizona State’s recruiting and the program slipped, posting 3-9 records the past two seasons, the latter under new coach Kenny Dillingham.

To help its cause, Arizona State self-imposed the 2023 bowl ban and imposed various recruiting restrictions. In addition, most of the staffers who worked under Edwards and Pierce have left the program.

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(Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)


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