The college football world, or at least, its dedicated subset of fans who pay attention to the minutiae of the sport, was pretty shocked when news broke that Joker Phillips had resigned from his position as Florida wide receivers coach.
After all, these types of positions are pretty well sought-after. Phillips might not be a spring chicken at 51 years old, but he still has plenty of good years to work with.
It turns out though that his resignation may have been predicated by a serious recruiting violation.
Apparently Phillips and a recruit were photographed sitting in a restaurant during one of the NCAA's "dead" periods - a time when coaches aren't supposed to be meeting with, or even really talking to, their prospects. According to multiple media reports, including Yahoo! Sports, the photo was turned over to the NCAA by someone with ties to the University of Miami.
If so, Miami will have made quite the dig at its longtime rival. They will have not only forced one of Florida's top coaches to resign, but they will have also embarrassed the school in the process.
Chris Leak, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Florida football history, was named as the new wide receivers coach.
Meanwhile, Phillips seems to be out of a job.
The coach came to Gainesville last year as the wide receivers coach. Before that, he was the Kentucky head football coach from 2010 to 2012. While those Wildcat teams were known for their fast-paced offense, they weren't ever able to achieve consistent success, and Phillips left with a 13-24 record at the helm.
In an official statement released by the school, Phillips said that he was leaving for personal reasons. Florida head coach Will Muschamp followed that statement with one of his own, saying that he appreciated Phillips and wished him nothing but the best.
It will be interesting to see where Florida goes from here.
A major recruiting violation such as this could be trouble for the university, which hasn't had to deal with a suspension since 1990, when it was banned from a bowl game and served probation.
In Muschamp's three years as head coach, the Gators have fallen far short of expectations. They've gone 22-16 in that span, while not playing in a single SEC championship game. Of course, Florida fans still have two recent national championships fresh in their minds, including one 41-14 win over Ohio State in 2006 and then a 24-14 win over Oklahoma in 2008.
As important as it is to recruit well, Muschamp has to keep his staff from making as blatantly egregious recruiting errors as this one.
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