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Former NY Jets head coach faces harsh punishment from NCAA

Herm Edwards
Herm Edwards, Getty Images

Former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards receives a harsh punishment from NCAA for recruiting violation

Former New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards has agreed to a five-year show-cause penalty with the NCAA for his involvement in Arizona State’s recruiting violations that occurred during the COVID-stricken 2020 season.

The violations included over 30 prospects during the NCAA’s COVID-19 no-visit period. This period excluded school staff members from meeting prospects on campus (or other areas) on a face-to-face basis. Arizona State also disassociated itself with a booster, Regina Jackson, who is actually the mother of 2024 prospect Jayden Daniels.

The former Jets head coach admitted to NCAA investigators of his role in the violations, and the Committee on Infractions and Arizona State have agreed to vacate nine of their 10 wins from the 2021-22 season for using ineligible players. Current Las Vegas Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce is also being investigated for violations related to this incident.

Herm Edwards’ five-year show-cause penalty is one of the harshest punishments dealt to a head coach by the NCAA. Edwards’ five-year penalty is tied with Jim Tressell as the fourth-longest show-cause penalty in NCAA football history. Tressell famously lied to NCAA investigators about Ohio State players being paid for selling memorabilia in 2012.

A show-cause penalty is an administration punishment imposed on coaches who have been found guilty of committing rules violations. It’s the most severe punishment a collegiate coach can receive. While it doesn’t deter other schools from hiring a coach with a show-cause penalty, any school that hires a guilty coach can be penalized merely for hiring them. The school would also face severe penalties if that coach were to commit further violations.

In essence, a show-cause penalty essentially blackballs coaches from getting jobs in the college ranks, and very few coaches return after receiving this punishment.

Edwards stepped down from coaching Arizona State in September 2022. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jets in the NFL. Edwards is remembered for his fiery “You play to win the game” rant after a 24-21 loss to the Cleveland Browns in 2002 that will live in infamy.

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