KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) [5:45 p.m.] -- In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Lane Kiffin offered this apology:
“I've been made aware by the Southeastern Conference that my comments this morning at a breakfast with our donors violated a conference policy.
"In my enthusiasm for our recruiting class, I made some statements that were meant solely to excite those at the breakfast.
“I apologize to Commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC, including Florida AD Jeremy Foley and coach Urban Meyer. My comments were not intended to offend anyone at the University of Florida.”
Knoxville (WVLT) [3:23 PM] - In response to our inquiry, The NCAA sent us the following e-mail answer:
"It is not a violation of NCAA rules for a coach to contact a student athlete while they are on an official visit to another school. I recommend contacting the SEC for conference rules regarding contact, but generally speaking, it is not a violation of NCAA rules. Bylaw 13.1.3 outlines the specific NCAA telephone contact rules."
Christopher Radford, NCAA Assistant Director of Public and Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Signing day has passed, but the bullets are still flying between Tennessee and Florida.
Thursday morning at a recruiting celebration banquet, Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin accused Florida's Urban Meyer of a recruiting violation in the recruitment of Pahokee, Fla. wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson.
Kiffin's allegation: That Meyer repeatedly called Richardson while he was on his official visit to UT.
"I'm gonna turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin told the crowd at the Knoxville Convention Center. "While Nu'Keese was on campus, his phone kept ringing. One of the coaches says, 'who's that?' And he said, Urban Meyer."
"I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him," Kiffin said.
Kiffin says football coaches are not permitted to contact a prospect while he is on an official visit to another school's campus.
But the NCAA says what Meyer allegedly did is probably not a violation.
"It is not a violation of NCAA rules for a coach to contact a student athlete while they are on an official visit to another school," NCAA spokesperson Christopher Radford said. "I recommend contacting the SEC for conference rules regarding contact, but generally speaking, it is not a violation of NCAA rules."
The UT Athletics Department says they do not plan to report Meyer's texting.
The Sports Overtime team called Florida's media relations office for a comment but has not yet received a response.
Nu'Keese Richardson is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound receiver from Pahokee, Fla. He committed to Florida on May 30, 2008, but signed with UT after visiting Knoxville the weekend before signing day.
Richardson was rated as the No. 68 overall recruit and the No. 9 wide receiver in the 2009 class by Rivals.com. He helped lead Pahokee to three consecutive state titles.
He threw for 1,020 yards and 14 touchdowns at quarterback as a senior, while also catching 22 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 234 yards and three scores.
Richardson is one of two Florida commitments who decided to sign with Tennessee. Paris, Tenn. athlete Marsalis Teague also signed with the Vols.
At the recruiting banquet, Kiffin praised Richardson's speed and athleticism, calling him a "home-run hitter."
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