Kutcher, Moore part of UI recruiting violations

BY SAM LANE | NOVEMBER 01, 2010 7:15 AM

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An official with the University of Iowa admitted the men’s basketball program violated NCAA regulations when recruits met actor and Iowa native Ashton Kutcher, actress Demi Moore, and high-profile ex-Hawkeye basketball players.

The UI violated NCAA bylaws when two prospective basketball players met the celebrities during a visit to campus during the weekend of Sept. 11, according to the Associated Press.

A letter from an NCAA staff member to Athletics Director Gary Barta, said NCAA officials read articles from basketball recruiting websites that revealed the activity. The staff member told the UI to retrieve statements from the recruits specifying the individuals they met on their visits to the UI.

She also required officials to get statements from the recruits’ student hosts.

On Sunday, Associate Athletics Director Fred Mims told The Daily Iowan the violation was “inadvertent.”

“We’ll wait and see … secondary violations do occur,” he said.

In a written response to the NCAA, he said one recruit was at the UI the weekend of the Iowa State game for an unofficial visit, and the other student attended the game as part of his official recruiting visit.

He said the UI will self-report the violations.

While all names involved in the violation were stricken from the documents, a picture from the Twitter feed of Marcus Paige, a prospective Hawkeye, shows Paige with Kutcher. The recruiting website rivals.com lists the Linn-Mar High School junior as a four-star recruit.

The reports show the unofficial visitor met Kutcher and Moore during halftime of the football game and met ex-Hawkeyes Dean Oliver and Reggie Evans at a pickup basketball game. Oliver and Evans told the player “how much they enjoyed playing at Iowa,” the deposition says.

The other prospective student, on an official visit, said he met Evans and Oliver at the pickup game and also met Kutcher and Moore at halftime of the football game. The recruit, who was rumored to be Cedar Rapids Washington senior Josh Oglesby, also inadvertently met former Hawkeye Jeff Horner when he was on his way back to his hotel downtown. Oglesby has orally committed to the Hawkeyes.

Notes from a Sept. 24 meeting between Mims and basketball officials indicate no one attempted to stop the recruits’ encounter with Kutcher and Moore because they said the situation was “uncomfortable.” Officials also discussed “corrective actions.”

NCAA officials have yet to say “exactly what the outcome” will be, Mims said, adding he hopes they’ll get a response within a week or two.

“We anticipate the NCAA will determine each [violation] to be unintentional secondary violations,” Barta said in a statement. “In each case, staff of the UI thoroughly investigated the activity and has already educated all involved on what was not done correctly or completely.”

Barta classified secondary violations as “not uncommon.”

According to the NCAA, a secondary violation is “an isolated or inadvertent violation that provides or intends to provide only minimal recruiting, competitive, or other advantages.”

NCAA officials did not return calls seeking comment Sunday. Iowa men’s head basketball coach Fran McCaffery declined to comment through a team spokesman.

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