ATHENS – Longtime Georgia men’s golf coach Chris Haack became the latest coach to be burned by an inadvertent text message.
Early last fall, Haack received a letter of “admonishment” from UGA and “rules education” after he responded to a group text message that turned out to include a picture of a prospective recruit. It was against NCAA rules to be in contact with a recruit who was a high school junior until Sept. 1.
According to a listing of facts in a report provided by UGA: “A father of the PSA (prospective student-athlete) sent a group text that contained a picture of a PSA and his friend. Both the Head Men’s Golf Coach and Assistant Coach were included in the text along with two other people. The Head Men’s Golf Coach replied to the text thinking he was responding to his friend that was included on the message. The coach’s response stated ‘That is awesome.’ He did not know the PSA (prospective student-athlete’s) father was a part of the group text.”
But the report went on to add that Haack did not see the father’s name on the group text because he didn’t have the number on his phone. Nonetheless, action was taken against Haack, referred to as the “SEC standard penalty.” UGA was also prohibited from making phone calls to the recruit for 14 days.
Haack has been Georgia’s golf coach since 1996, winning two national championships and eight SEC titles.
There was also a texting situation with the volleyball coach last fall that didn’t result in a penalty. The coach at the time, Lizzy Stemke, received a text from an unknown number, took a screen shot to send to her assistants to see if they knew who it was, but in the process replied to the sender, who turned out to be a prospective recruit. In that case, UGA reported that it believed this to be an “innocent mistake” and thus did not believe any action was necessary.
Meanwhile, two other programs at Georgia also turned in secondary violations last fall that resulted in recruiting restrictions:
- An assistant softball coach “allowed a PSA to meet a famous professional softball player during the course of an unofficial visit.” The famous professional softball player is not identified. The penalty taken by UGA: The softball program was only allowed to contact the recruit one time during her senior year, and not in the first 30 days of the permissible contact period, and the assistant coach – also unidentified in the report – was not allowed to recruit off campus for 30 days, or call a recruit for 14 days. The assistant coach was also issued a letter of reprimand.
- Assistant track coach Devin West was issued a letter of reprimand, and assistant track coach Tatijana Jacobson a letter of admonishment, after three track recruits “had contact with former student-athlete (who is also a member of the media) during an official visit. The former student-athlete and media member is not identified. Contact with each of the three recruits was also restricted over the next 30 days.