Connecticut women’s basketball Coach Geno Auriemma says another school has made an official complaint to the American Athletic Conference saying his phone call to Mo’ne Davis constitutes a recruiting violation.
Yes, Mo’Ne Davis, the baseball player.
A 13-year-old baseball player.
Granted, a very good 13-year-old baseball player who rose to stardom by leading Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons into the semifinals of the Little League World Series with a fastball that registers in the 70-mph range.
But still famous for playing baseball, not basketball.
“I have no idea if the kid is very good [at basketball], kind of good, not good at all or a superstar or can even reach the basket,” Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. “How is that a violation?”
Davis has stated in interviews that she considers herself a basketball player first and that she would love to one day play for the Huskies before moving on to the WNBA. The eighth-grader has made more than one public appearance wearing a UConn sweat shirt.
Auriemma said a friend asked him to call Davis after the Philadelphia 76ers suggested it because Davis “loves basketball, and congratulations or something seem in order.”
The coach who has led the Huskies to nine national titles, including the past two, said the agreed-to plan with Little League was for him to call its communications office and leave a message for the player. But Davis just happened to be in the room when he called, so she was handed the phone.
“The conversation lasted like two minutes and we hung up,” Auriemma said. “And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school .… That’s the world that we live in.”
According to the Courant, UConn said Davis wasn’t considered a prospective student athlete until she reaches high school.
“So what does this mean? If a kid wins a swimming contest somewhere and is wearing a [UConn] sweat shirt and I call to congratulate her in seventh grade, is someone now going to say you are not allowed to do that?” Auriemma said. “Well, why not? Isn’t that unbelievable?
“There are guys playing college basketball driving around in cars worth more than my house and we’re worried about a phone call to a little girl?”