Herm Edwards Agrees to 5-Year NCAA Penalty Despite $4.4M Severance from ASU

Herm Edwards, former ASU football coach, agrees to 5-year NCAA ban for recruiting violations. ASU paid him $4.4M severance despite the severity of the case, sparking criticism of university leadership.

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Salman Khan
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Herm Edwards Agrees to 5-Year NCAA Penalty Despite $4.4M Severance from ASU

Herm Edwards Agrees to 5-Year NCAA Penalty Despite $4.4M Severance from ASU

Herm Edwards, the former Arizona State University (ASU) football coach, has agreed to a five-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA for his significant role in the university's recruiting violations case. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions concluded that Edwards extensively participated in impermissible recruiting, including meeting with prospects on campus and at a rented house in Paradise Valley during the COVID-19 no-visit period.

Despite the severity of the violations, ASU paid Edwards a $4.4 million severance package when he resigned in September 2022. This decision by the university has generated fresh scrutiny, with ASU President Michael Crow and former Athletic Director Ray Anderson facing criticism for their handling of the situation. Critics argue that ASU could have fired Edwards for cause but instead agreed to a 'mutual separation agreement' that allowed him to receive the multi-million dollar payout.

Why this matters: The case highlights the financial and ethical challenges faced by universities when dealing with high-profile coaches involved in NCAA violations. It also raises questions about the accountability and oversight of university leadership in such situations.

As part of the agreement with the NCAA, ASU will vacate nine of its 10 wins from the 2021-22 season due to the use of ineligible players. The university's athletic department is now tied with Southern Methodist University for the most major NCAA infractions (10). Six other former ASU staffers, including assistant coaches and an equipment employee, also received severe show-cause penalties ranging from three to 10 years.

The financial implications of the case are significant for ASU. In 2022, the university's athletic department received $18.5 million in subsidies yet still reported a $27.1 million shortfall. Critics argue that the $4.4 million paid to Edwards could have been better utilized elsewhere, especially considering the department's operating deficit of $45.6 million after removing the subsidies.

While ASU's efforts during the investigation were lauded by the NCAA, the school still faces reduced scholarship allotments over a three-year period as part of the negotiated Level I mitigated classification for the case. ASU President Michael Crow claimed the university took "quick and decisive action" and cooperated fully with the NCAA, but some Arizona taxpayers and ASU boosters believe the $4.4 million severance package paid to Edwards contradicts the university's handling of the situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Herm Edwards, former ASU coach, agreed to 5-year show-cause penalty for recruiting violations.
  • ASU paid Edwards $4.4M severance despite violations, drawing criticism from university leadership.
  • ASU will vacate 9 of 10 wins from 2021-22 season due to use of ineligible players.
  • ASU tied with SMU for most major NCAA infractions (10), with 6 other staffers penalized.
  • ASU's athletic department faces $27.1M shortfall, with $4.4M to Edwards criticized as misuse of funds.