Iowa, Kutcher Guilty of Violating NCAA Rules
Why wasn’t Tom Arnold there, too?
by Jon Jaques / @JJaques25
When you think of Iowa basketball and NCAA rules infringements, you generally think of whistle blowing (ironically, thanks to former Hawkeye assistant Bruce Pearl), not violating. All of that may have changed as of this past weekend.
The university recently admitted to the NCAA that two basketball recruits were allowed to meet celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at a September Iowa-Iowa State football home game. NCAA rules prohibit recruits from any contact with individuals that could potentially “represent a university’s athletic interests,” so the Hawkeyes are indeed guilty of a rules infraction.
There is no indication that any significant punishment will be handed down to McCaffrey’s program, though in his letter to the NCAA, Iowa associate athletic director Fred Mims did acknowledge the incident was the result of, “sloppy management by our basketball staff.”
Obviously this isn’t the right way to go about revitalizing a program and a fan base that had to trudge through Todd Lickliter’s three-year snooze as head coach. Recruiting in the Midwest against the likes of Tom Izzo, Tom Crean, and Thad Matta and Matt Painter, McCaffrey faces an uphill battle to begin with. An embarrassing and easily avoidable run-in involving prospects and a Hollywood has-been couple can’t help matters either.
The best part of the story has to be that Kutcher, a native Iowan and former University of Iowa student, might have had some sort of influence on the recruiting process after all. One of the recruits, Cedar Rapids shooting guard Josh Oglesby, signed on with the Hawkeyes shortly after his visit with the actor/creepy Nikon spokesperson. Documents filed by the Iowa athletic program report that Kutcher, also a Cedar Rapid native, took pictures at Kinnick Stadium with both recruits. According to the same documents, the Iowa basketball staff was aware of the situation but made no attempt to stop the violation because the situation was “uncomfortable.”
A self-imposed, secondary violation is probably all Iowa will face, and this seems like the kind of minor mistake any program could end up making. If the recruits had met Tom Arnold (also an Iowan) instead of Ashton Kutcher, this incident would not be so overblown. Still, the Fran McCaffrey era at Iowa is off to a strange start. Hungry Hawkeye fans are hoping it has a more Hollywood-like ending than his predecessor’s.