Yesterday I reported that top Oregon football recruit and former L.A. high school football star De’anthony Thomas Tweeted from his personal account that he had met with NCAA investigators on Wednesday.
(Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus and De’anthony Thomas)
Thomas, one of the top 2011 high school football prospects in the country, recently signed to play football at Oregon in what reportedly may have been a last second change of heart. (Thomas spurned the hometown USC Trojans.)
After my report, Thomas Tweeted that NCAA investigators did not ask him about Oregon during his meeting with NCAA investigators. Instead, Thomas indicated - also via his Twitter account - that USC was the sole topic of conversation.
Following his Tweets, Thomas denied to Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com that he had met with the NCAA and that the aforementioned Twitter account containing the Tweets in question did not belong to him.
I followed that up with a report proving that Thomas did own the Twitter account from which the NCAA and USC Tweets emanated.
Today, Thomas changed his story again.
The Oregon football recruit confirmed to Rob Moseley of the EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD that he met with NCAA investigators on Wednesday and that, again, USC was the sole focus of the visit. From a Moseley Tweet:
Heard back from De’Anthony Thomas this morning. Says his meeting with the NCAA involved “nothin bout the Ducks,” was “all bout USC.”
For the second time in as many days, Thomas has not been forthcoming with the media.
A source with knowledge of what was discussed between Thomas and an NCAA investigator on Wednesday told me today that Thomas was asked about his recruitment by Oregon.
One of the topics of discussion between the NCAA and Thomas was a photo of Thomas and the son of rapper and Los Angeles youth football league operator Snoop Dogg, Cordell Broadus. (Snoop’s real name: Calvin Broadus.)
In the photo of Thomas and Cordell, which was taken at LAX after Thomas arrived back from Eugene following a visit to the Univ. of Oregon less than a week before national signing day, the Oregon recruit was seen wearing a wide variety of Oregon Nike apparel and shoes. The clothing and footwear, by most estimates, is valued at a few hundred dollars. (The jacket alone retails for $174.95)
During his meeting with the NCAA, Thomas was asked about how he acquired the expensive Nike Oregon gear.
NCAA recruiting rule 126.96.36.199:
A student-athlete may not receive a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase (e.g., airline ticket, clothing) or a service (e.g., laundry, dry cleaning) from an institutional employee or a representative of its athletics interests.
NCAA recruiting rule 188.8.131.52:
A student-athlete may not accept free of charge, or purchase at a discount- ed or reduced price, athletics equipment, supplies or clothing (e.g., tennis racquets, golf clubs, hockey sticks, balls, shirts) from a manufacturer or commercial enterprise, that is not offered to the general student body. Such items may be provided to the student-athlete’s institution, to be used by the institution’s team in accordance with accepted practices for issuance and retrieval of athletics equipment.
As part of a NCAA sanctions report against the Colorado football program in 2002 for recruiting violations, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions reported:
Further, the committee found a pattern of providing clothing, including jackets, caps and gloves, to prospects during official visits — which is permissible — but failing to retrieve the apparel at the conclusion of the visit.
There was minimal administrative oversight of this operation and no accountability for the items. The committee noted, “This relaxed attitude was conveyed to those prospects making their visits and resulted in prospects believing they were free to retain items of apparel…”
After the Colorado football program was sanctioned by the NCAA for, among others things, lack of swag oversight, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions noted in its final report:
Colorado no longer allows apparel to be checked out to prospective student-athletes under any circumstances. Equipment room tours have been discontinued. The athletics equipment office manager is required to complete a detailed inventory before and after any equipment display for recruits within 48 hours of the unofficial or official visit.
Speaking of oversights, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address why Snoop Dogg’s son was seen with Oregon recruit Thomas in the photo.
Ben Glickman of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reported on the germ of the relationship between Thomas and father (Snoop) and son (Cordell) Broadus:
After dazzling in a 2005 Pop Warner game, opposing coach Snoop Dogg (who founded the Snoop Youth Football League in Southern Los Angeles) summoned the then-12-year-old to the sidelines. The rapper dubbed the elusive youngster The Black Mamba — a nod to an eight-foot African snake known as the fastest in the world — and the label stuck through the remainder of his prep career.
“Now I don’t relate to him as Snoop Dogg,” he said. “I relate to him as Coach Snoop.”
Thomas has since maintained a relationship with the Broadus family, so it was no shock to see him with Snoop son Cordell in the photo after returning from Oregon.
Especially after you watch what 16-year-old Cordell had to say about the Ducks last year on Larry King Live.