Colorado self-reported 11 NCAA football violations committed during the Buffaloes’ first season under coach Deion Sanders, according to documents obtained by USA Today. The violations — all minor in nature — range from Colorado’s recruiting efforts with transfers to Sanders’ robust use of social media.
“The University of Colorado Boulder athletic department is committed to complying with NCAA regulations and will continue to educate our coaches, student-athletes, and staff to ensure that we remain in compliance,” Colorado said in a statement to USA Today. “We take all infractions seriously, regardless of the severity, and in these specific cases, these minor infractions were all self-reported to the NCAA.”
Among the self-reported violations were two incidents that occurred in May 2023. One occurred when the Buffaloes hosted a postgraduate football camp in which prospective transfers who had not yet entered the transfer portal attended. It constituted as a violation of NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11, which requires players to enter the portal before other schools can make contact with them.
The NCAA imposed both a two-week recruiting ban from June 15-28 and a one-day recruiting ban on transfers on Dec. 4, which was the day the fall transfer portal window opened. The recruits in question — most of which were from smaller institutions — were also deemed permanently ineligible to play for the Buffaloes.
“We believe that this violation should be viewed more as a procedural issue, as opposed to a tampering violation,” Colorado claimed in reporting the mishap to the NCAA.
As for Sanders’ social media usage, the Buffaloes were in violation of NCAA rules that same month when he hosted an Instagram Live session featuring a prospective athlete — 2024 wide receiver Aaron Butler, who since committed to Texas. NCAA rule 18.104.22.168 forbids recruits from involvement in any media activity conducted by an NCAA head coach. Colorado’s entire football coaching staff was banned from recruiting on the road and holding evaluations for one week as a penalty.
Other violations include a prospective athlete entering the locker room during a pregame speech during the team’s home game against Stanford — Colorado claimed it to be the result of a security breakdown — and Sanders’ social media team posting content that inadvertently revealed a spreadsheet listing names of prospective recruits.
The Buffaloes went 4-8 in their 2023 debut under Sanders, starting 3-0 and briefly appearing in the AP Top 25 rankings before dropping eight of their final nine contests. The Buffaloes now look for a bounce-back in 2024, which sees them return to the Big 12 after spending 13 seasons in the Pac-12.