Colorado got flagged for 11 minor NCAA violations during Deion Sanders’ first year as head football coach, as reported by USA Today on Thursday. Nearly all of the Buffs’ violations were due to Deion’s heavy use of the transfer portal and prolific use of social media to market their program. The university’s athletic department decided to get ahead of the curb with the infractions, self-reporting each of them to the NCAA to avoid a harsher punishment.
Colorado got hit with 2 minor transfer portal violations. The first of which was due to Sanders hosting a postgraduate recruitment camp, where coaches accident let 7 college players who weren't listed in the transfer portal participate in activities. Despite the coaches likely not being aware of the fact that 7 such players were present at the camp, the NCAA doesn’t allow schools to work out players that aren’t officially “active” in the portal. Sanders and his staff decided to take it on the chin and report the violation to the NCAA.
Another transfer violation occurred when Deion tried to recruit former Fresno State WR Joshua Kelly. Sanders was under the impression that Kelly was in the portal, but he actually wasn’t. The Buffs decided to pull away from their recruitment of Kelly after learning that he wasn’t in the portal and self-reported the violation in order to avoid picking up a tampering charge.
Sanders’ staff reported three social media violations as well. Two of which were the result of the program posting about players on their official channels who hadn’t signed their NLI yet, which is prohibited by the NCAA. The last social media violation was due to Deion posting a video of his team at a voluntary workout on Instagram. The NCAA doesn’t allowing filming of voluntary workouts, which is why Colorado got hit with a violation.
CU also got hit with two violations for giving recruits on unofficial visits improper benefits, a violation for providing Cormani McClain with an illegal gameday simulation before he officially signed his NLI, and for bringing a yoga coach who wasn’t a member of the staff to host a strength and condition session for the team.
The NCAA’s rulebook is long and unnecessarily complicated, so these types of minor violations are extremely common within every football program. Because Colorado self-reported each incident before the NCAA discovered them, the team likely won’t get hit with any substantial punishments. It’s also exceedingly common for new coaches to commit several minor violations when taking a job, so Deion has a pretty good excuse.
Likely nothing will come of these 11 self-reported violations, but it’s worth noting that such events did occur. Hopefully Deion and Colorado’s staff can learn their lesson and clean things up for 2024.