Geno Auriemma reportedly violated an NCAA secondary rule when he called Mo’ne Davis to congratulate her on her performance at the Little League World Series last month. The ace of the Philadelphia Taney Dragons team didn’t keep it a secret that she loves basketball even more than baseball.
Auriemma is the head coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of Connecticut. The Hartford Courant reports that one of the team’s rivals took exception when Auriemma called Davis to congratulate her. The rival school reported it to the American Athletic Conference as a potential recruiting violation.
Davis drew national attention when she said that her ultimate goal in the world of sports was to play basketball for Auriemma at UConn, then go on to play in the WNBA.
Athletic Director Warde Manuel told USA Today that, while the school accepts the decision, it does not agree with it. Auriemma also told reporters Wednesday that he spoke to Davis after a friend of his in the Philadelphia 76ers organization suggested it.
Davis was the 18th girl to play in the event and only the second to win a game on the mound. She is also a standout basketball player.
Manuel explained that Auriemma checked with the school’s compliance department before he called the star Little League pitcher. He was told the 13-year-old would not be considered a prospective student athlete and the call was fine.
“The nature of coach Auriemma’s two-minute conversation with Mo’ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo’ne to continued success.”
UConn doesn’t yet know if the NCAA will impose any sanctions. Manuel told reporters he considers the matter to be closed.
During the call, Geno Auriemma told Davis he was impressed by the way she handled the pressure of being in the Little League World Series. He also told her to make sure people were treating her like a baseball player, rather than saying “Oh, look at this girl playing baseball.”
The UConn women’s basketball coach was surprised someone would file a complaint over the call. He said, “It shows you what is wrong not only for things that go on but also with some of the people that I coach against.”
Gene Auriemma added that he has never seen Mo’ne Davis play basketball and doesn’t know if the is “a superstar of can even reach the basket.”
[Image: NBC Connecticut]