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Tim Tebow call to recruit results in Ohio State NCAA violation

Ohio State self-reported 42 NCAA secondary violations across all sports that happened during 2013, and included was a phone conversation between Tim Tebow and a football recruit.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that four of the minor violations were football related, including an incident in which Tebow -- who played for current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer at Florida -- spoke to highly touted prep linebacker Clifton Garrett.

The newspaper reported that Ohio State's report to the NCAA said that on one occasion, Garrett called Meyer, who told the athlete he was on vacation and having lunch with a few friends, including Tebow. Garrett reportedly asked Meyer if he could speak to Tebow, so the two talked -- for about eight seconds. The conversation came to light because Garrett tweeted about it.

The problem? Under NCAA rules, former players who aren't employed by a university can't be involved in recruiting. You can argue that this phone call didn't constitute recruiting -- after all, what truly can be said in eight seconds? -- but Ohio State is taking no chances (smart, considering they just got off NCAA probation).

From Ohio State's report to the NCAA: "Coach Meyer understands that the communication between Garrett and Tebow was an error on his part. However, he was adamant that it was a reflexive, courteous action rather than an intentional attempt to involve Tim Tebow in the recruiting process."

The kicker? Garrett, from Illinois, didn't even sign with the Buckeyes, instead choosing LSU, where he is expected to play at least a reserve role in the fall as a true freshman.

Another one of the violations: Offensive coordinator Tom Herman used smokeless tobacco during a game. That violation came to light because of a Sports Illustrated story in which the writer sat with the Buckeyes' coaches in the press box and noted that Herman "swigs ... Diet Coke between spitting streaks of tobacco into his dip cup." A member of Ohio State's compliance office read the story and recognized that the tobacco use was an NCAA violation.

The NCAA worries about the use of smokeless tobacco by an adult and an eight-second phone call, yet is (or at least seems) powerless on so many other fronts: Once again, we get a perfect example of what is wrong with the organization.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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