The NCAA has found Geno Auriemma violated an NCAA rule when he called Little League pitching prodigy Mo'ne Davis during the Little League World Series, UConn announced Thursday.
UConn had been working with the NCAA and the American Athletic Conference since Wednesday afternoon to determine whether Auriemma's two-minute phone call with the 13-year-old constituted a violation of recruiting rules, after an unnamed school reported it to the AAC.
"While UConn accepts this decision, we do not agree with it," UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel said of the decision Thursday, after the NCAA notified the school of its determination.
Mo'ne was launched into the spotlight earlier this month when her 70-mile-per-hour fastballs helped the Taney Dragons, of Philadelphia, reach the semifinals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Mo'ne has said she would like to play basketball for Auriemma at UConn one day. Auriemma grew up in Philadelphia.
Auriemma said someone from the Philadelphia '76ers contacted a friend of Auriemma's and suggested the UConn head coach give Mo'ne a call to congratulate her.
On Wednesday, Auriemma said he called the Little League offices. Mo'ne happened to be there, and he asked to have someone put Davis on the phone.
"The conversation lasted like two minutes, and we hung up," Auriemma said. "And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation, because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school.
"That's the world that we live in," he added.
Manuel said Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department before making the call and was told it would not be a violation, since Davis is not considered a prospective student athlete.
"The nature of Coach Auriemma’s two-minute conversation with Mo’ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo’ne to continued success," Manuel said.
The bylaw Auriemma is found to have violated bars schools from making phone calls to students before the July 1 after their junior year of high school. An exception to the bylaw for women's basketball allows schools to call students after Sept. 1 of the beginning of her junior year.
It was not clear what type of punishment, if any, could be handed down.
NBC Connecticut has not reached Auriemma for reaction to the NCAA's ruling, but he was in disbelief over the controversy when he spoke about it on Wednesday.
"So what does this mean? If a kid wins a swimming contest somewhere and is wearing a [UConn] sweatshirt and I call to congratulate her in seventh grade, is someone now going to say you are not allowed to do that? Well, why not? Isn't that unbelievable?" he asked.
"There are guys playing college basketball driving around in cars worth more than my house, and we're worried about a phone call to a little girl?"