When your justification for breaking a rule is “as long as nobody knows, it’s fine,” generally someone is eventually going to find out and you’re going to get burned. That’s exactly what happened to former Appalachian State assistant coach Chris Foster, who received a one-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA for texting a prospect’s mom 416 times during the 2012-13 season, which violated the institution’s bylaws regarding impermissible contact.

Foster is banned from recruiting activities through the end of next August, and Appalachian State was hit with a $5,000 fine.

From the NCAA’s ruling:

The former assistant coach knew he could not text prospects or their parents. He did so anyway. He exchanged text messages with the mother of the prospect after he met her, the prospect and the prospect’s father on their unofficial visit to the institution in fall 2012. Shortly after the unofficial visit, the former assistant coach cautioned the mother that they were not supposed to text under NCAA rules. He justified his actions by claiming that as long as nobody knew, it was fine.

The impermissible communication continued for roughly four months and went undetected because the football program never identified the prospect as a “recruited prospect.” Therefore, the institution’s monitoring software never recognized the text messages as impermissible. The absence of the “recruited prospect” designation, however, was not an exception to the prohibition. He was still a prospect under the bylaws. The former assistant coach asserted that the text messages were related to advice regarding general admission to the institution. Others were personal in nature. Regardless, the text messages sent to the prospect’s mother were still prohibited.

Foster resigned from Appalachian State in 2015 and is now in his first season as a running backs coach at Georgia Southern.


About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.