Report: ASU’s Herm Edwards allegedly met recruits during dead period

Feb 23, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:23 pm
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Hours after Arizona State University president Michael Crow attempted to deflect blame for an ongoing investigation away from head football coach Herm Edwards, reported that Edwards directly broke rules by visiting with high school prospects during a recruiting dead period in 2020.

During an interview with Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday, Crow said Edwards “is responsible for all of the action of all of his people” but that the head coach “did not ask” his assistants to break rules by hosting recruits during a 14-month recruiting freeze caused by the pandemic.

Five coaches have resigned or were fired in the past few months, and all the departures are related to the NCAA investigation that began last offseason.

SunDevilSource’s Chris Karpman reports that Edwards met with multiple prospects:

Despite Crow’s assertions, Edwards himself participated in meetings with recruits on ASU’s campus and at off-campus locations including at a rented home in Paradise Valley that was secured specifically for the purposes of recruiting, during a 14-month period when it was not permitted due to the pandemic, three people with direct knowledge of the encounters told Sun Devil Source.

NCAA investigators have been told specific details about these in-person meetings between Edwards and multiple ASU recruiting targets, by people who attended and participated in them and by others were present when they took place, people familiar with those conversations said.

Karpman adds that the university’s vice president and general counsel, Jose Cardenas, has been given those details. Cardenas is “responsible for reporting directly to Crow,” Karpman adds, suggesting Crow should be aware of what the NCAA has been told thus far.

Edwards met with multiple recruits at the Paradise Valley rental in July 2020, Karpman reports. One of those recruits traveled to the Valley via a payment from an ASU staffer, according to what investigators have been told.

A dossier of information sent to ASU that set off the NCAA investigation also includes a still image of Edwards meeting a recruit in the team’s weight room during a recruiting dead period, Karpman reports.

Crow took Wedneday’s interview on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station to point blame at the coaches who have since left the program: former defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, offensive coordinator Zak Hill, defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins, receivers coach Prentice Gill and tight ends coach Adam Breneman.

Edwards, who joined Bickley & Marotta on Tuesday, suggested that potential recruiting malpractice happened behind his back when asked if he felt his trust had been taken advantage of.

“I feel this way, that when you delegate responsibility, you have to trust people,” Edwards said. “I live in a world like that, I grew up that way. I just think — I don’t micromanage people. I understand what’s going on for the most part, but at the end of the day, football’s about trust, by the way. This game’s built on trust.

“When you call a play, it comes in on offense and defense. The people in the circle, you got to trust each other that they’re going to do their job. If they don’t, you can’t run the play. It doesn’t function that way. You guys have watched sports long enough. Sports is all about trust. It’s about the people that you trust that are going to do their jobs correctly and in the right way.”

Arizona Sports reached out to Arizona State University for clarification of Crow’s comments on Edwards on Wednesday morning, but did not receive a response.

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