The most popular team of the 2023 college football season is under the NCAA’s microscope.
Colorado and Deion Sanders have had 11 NCAA minor violations since Sanders was hired in December 2022. according to USA TODAY Sports reports. All violations were self-reported by the university to the NCAA, and none were associated with serious penalties.
These minor violations occur frequently across college sports — USA TODAY reports that Ohio State’s football team reported two minor violations last season, while Alabama reported nine violations across the entire athletic department (none in football).
But what’s worth noting is that most of these violations came directly from Colorado coach Deion Sanders’ cult of personality. Sanders took a one-win football team and filled it with transfers. While Colorado finished the season 4-8, Sanders helped make Colorado one of the most talked about teams in the entire sport. His presence helped It grows Colorado football’s social channels have grown from 267,000 followers to more than 2.3 million. He earned a College GameDay bid for the school’s rivalry game with Colorado State and Bring on the Prime Video documentary crew To film the entire season.
This is where the problems arose. Three of Colorado’s violations stem directly from posts on social media. One of Sanders’ Twitter posts showed a spreadsheet of potential recruiting prospects, which violates the rule prohibiting advertising for recruits before signing with a school. Another Sanders post on Instagram showed the team holding voluntary workouts, another violation.
Most of the violations stem from what helped build Sanders’ new-look team in Colorado: recruiting. Two of the violations resulted from transfer gate violations. Five other recruits are involved in some way. Sanders showed one on Instagram Live, breaking the rule about recruits engaging in media activity. Another committed a violation for using his tether on an unofficial visit to access a premium seating area during the USC-Colorado game. Many recruits participated in “playing situations” prohibited on official visits. One recruit even had access to the locker room to give pregame speeches.
Colorado was the most recognizable name in football, mostly due to Dionne’s ability to market the team. It all comes at a cost. For minor violations, Colorado loses recruiting days, the ability to reach certain recruits, and sets itself up for worse punishment later.