TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State president Michael Crow seemed to exonerate coach Herm Edwards from wrongdoing Wednesday amid an ongoing NCAA investigation into reported major recruiting violations.
“These are not things he was a part of,” Crow said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The statement is the most revealing regarding Edwards’ job since the Arizona State scandal broke in June 2021.
Initial reports stated both ASU and the NCAA had been sent a “dossier” detailing evidence of the program bringing in recruits during the extended NCAA dead period due to COVID-19. Among the items reportedly in the dossier is a photo that appears to show Edwards leading a top 100 recruit around the ASU weight room, according to Yahoo Sports.
247Sports’ Chris Karpman further reports that Edwards is known to have met with numerous prospects both on and off campus during the no contact period.
Despite Crow’s assertions, Edwards himself participated in meetings with recruits on ASU’s campus and at off-campus locations including at a rented home in Paradise Valley that was secured specifically for the purposes of recruiting, during a 14-month period when it was not permitted due to the pandemic, three people with direct knowledge of the encounters told Sun Devil Source.
Crow was not asked about those reports during his radio appearance. He told CBS Sports he will not comment further at this time.
Since August, five Arizona State assistant coaches have either been resigned, left for other jobs or been fired. Last week, quarterback Jayden Daniels transferred after initial indications were that he was staying with the program.
College football sources across the country contacted by CBS Sports are incredulous that Edwards has survived while his coaching staff has been gutted.
In the radio interview, Crow was asked by host Dan Bickley why Edwards still has his job.
“Coach Edwards has done an outstanding job of upgrading our program,” Crow said. “We’ve got this collision of people who have decided not to play by the rules relative to recruiting. We’ll be looking at how we can make improvements. … Coach Edwards is responsible for the actions of all of his people. But these are not things he asked them to do. These are not things he was a part of.”
Crow added that resolution of the case might be 10-12 months away.
The dead period began in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lasted for more than a year to June 1, 2021. It was a frustration for a lot of coaches who could not meet recruits face to face. However, most adhered to the rule during the pandemic. Tennessee is also being investigated for alleged violations similar to those allegedly committed by Arizona State.
CBS Sports determined that the NCAA has been interviewing ASU recruits since at least August after the story broke.
Even if the school contends Edwards did not know meeting recruits in person was against the rules, the NCAA could still claim he violated the coach responsibility bylaw (11.1.1). That bylaw states a head coach is “presumed to be responsible” for the actions of his assistant coaches and is responsible for “promoting an atmosphere of compliance”.
In the last two days, Edwards, Crow and Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson have all been asked about the investigation by Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Any information revealed publicly about an NCAA investigation could be in violation of the confidentiality procedures.
“The NCAA process is in control here; we do not control it,” Anderson said. “It can be glacial by any standards. … We’ve got to be patient as required. We’re going to do that before we make any final determinations of our program, who leads it.
“I certainly, personally. don’t believe any rush to judgement is justified here in this case at ASU.”