Antonio Pierce in hot water
Former New York Giants’ linebacker and captain Antonio Pierce has been working as an associate head coach alongside head coach Herm Edwards for the football team at Arizona State University. It now looks like he’s a part of a recruiting scandal.
Yahoo! Sports says that Pierce takes care of the day-to-day things while Edwards serves more as a “CEO.” Both could be in trouble with the NCAA investigating their program for hosting recruits during a “dead period.”
The documentation includes specific evidence of multiple examples of high school prospects taking illicit on-campus recruiting trips to the Arizona State campus. Those came during the pandemic-inspired dead period that ended June 1. For more than a year prior, NCAA rules explicitly banned players from visiting on campus because of COVID-19. The dossier, according to sources, lays out pieces of both the players’ trips to campus and how those trips were paid for.
Sources said members of the football program deliberately, blatantly and consistently broke rules related to hosting players during the dead period, including coach Herm Edwards meeting with recruits. A source added that the evidence included pictures of the visits, including Edwards with a recruit who ended up enrolling at ASU. “It’s clear whoever provided it had a ton of access and knowledge of the football program,” a source told Yahoo Sports. “The stuff in there wouldn’t be provided by anyone outside the football program.”
It sounds like not everyone is fond of the way that Pierce runs things as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Someone on the inside may have blown the whistle on what has been going on within the program.
With Pierce’s power has also come division, as coaches have lost jobs, recruiting staff have felt pressure to blindly follow Pierce’s aggressive tactics and multiple sources said that those who insisted on avoiding recruiting gray areas were ostracized. That left a running joke on group texts and in phone calls this week about the mystery of who collected and documented all the receipts, emails and screenshots.
“There’s too many disgruntled people,” said one source. “There’s too many people that have been through that program that are frustrated. It could be any one of 10 people.”
This is Pierce’s first major coaching job since retiring from the NFL. He did coach at the high school level at Long Beach Poly, but moved on to ASU, his alma mater, in 2018.
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