Ohio State has agreed to no longer recruit five-star defensive lineman Micah Parsons after the Buckeyes self-reported a violation involving ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit during an official visit on Sept. 9, ESPN confirmed Tuesday.
TheLantern.com first reported the infraction, which was confirmed by reports obtained by ESPN.
Parsons, the No. 7-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is not named in the Buckeyes' report to the NCAA, as institutions cannot publicly discuss prospects who have not signed a national letter of intent. A source, however, confirmed to ESPN that it was Parsons involved in the violation.
The report given to the NCAA on Sept. 26 states that the prospect, while on his visit, wanted to see the ESPN College GameDay set that was broadcasting from Ohio State's campus. Parsons was escorted to the set by Ohio State recruiting assistant Ed Terwilliger, who took Parsons and his family to the set.
Herbstreit recognized and greeted Terwilliger and the Ohio State assistant, then allowed the group to enter the production area, where they were handed credentials by an ESPN producer. As the show went to commercial break, Herbstreit called Parsons over where the two posed for a picture on set. As the show was coming back from commercial, Herbstreit introduced Parsons and his father to former Ohio State running back Eddie George, who was the celebrity guest picker for the show that week.
The report says Terwilliger was aware that it is permissible for the prospect to have on-campus contact with former student-athletes such as Herbstreit and George.
It is permissible to have contact with the former players, but NCAA Bylaws 13.10.1 and 126.96.36.199 state there is no exception that would make it permissible for a prospect to have contact with members of the media associated with the former student-athletes. Members of the media may not be present during an institution's recruiting contact with a prospect, and a prospect may not participate in team activities that would make the public or media aware of the prospect's visit to the institution.
The violation report also states that because the prospect and his family gained access to an area of the College GameDay set not available to the general public, the prospect also received impermissible recruiting inducement under NCAA Bylaw 13.2.1.
In addition to agreeing to no longer recruit Parsons, Ohio State suspended Terwilliger for one game and provided him with a letter of reprimand. Because of the incident, the Ohio State compliance office prohibited any athletics programs from being near the ESPN College GameDay set for the remainder of the year after the incident occurred.