As new FIU football coach Ron Turner finishes putting together his first recruiting class, he found himself dealing with an embarrassing situation that spread across the Internet: two FIU student-athlete hosts had a Twitter conversation about taking recruits to a strip club.
The Twitter accounts of redshirt sophomore safety Demarkus Perkins and junior defensive tackle Isame Faciane were shut down by Monday morning. Both are still in school and on the team, but Turner refused to discuss any further discipline as a matter of policy.
Turner said in selecting which athletes to host recruits, “We tried to match them up by position and personalities, with who we think guys will get along with.”
Also, Turner said he relied heavily on assistant coaches remaining from Mario Cristobal’s staff because he didn’t know the remaining players well.
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“Moving forward, I’ll be able to do a better job of picking hosts,” he said. “Obviously, a couple didn’t do the right job. That’s not something that’s acceptable.”
Several recruits had official visits last weekend. By Sunday night, FIU had oral commitments from University School offensive lineman Jordan Budwig, Palm Beach Gardens offensive lineman James Cruise, Tampa Gaither wide receiver Shug Oyegunle and Killian linebacker Jordan Gibbs.
Perkins tweeted early Sunday morning, “The recruit was 2funny at strip club tonight.”
Faciane later tweeted, “buddy had this [a square] look on his face all night.”
FIU’s official visits packet contains a page for student hosts. The rules prohibit hosts from taking recruits to strip clubs: “You may not entertain the prospective student-athlete by attending a gentleman’s club or providing an opportunity for a sexual encounter [e.g., strip club, escort service, etc.].”
Although the NCAA Division I Manual section dealing with official visits doesn’t specifically prohibit adult club visits, it does read: “The institution may be held accountable through the NCAA enforcement program for activities that clearly demonstrate a disregard for [the institution’s] stated policies.”
Perkins transferred to FIU in 2011 after a year at Highland (Kan.) Community College and redshirted that season. In 2012, he played on defense and special teams, making 11 tackles in 10 games. After a solid sophomore season, Faciane didn’t have the impact expected when he was voted to the 2012 preseason All-Sun Belt team: 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He played the last several games with a badly injured shoulder that required postseason surgery.
Turner sounded as image conscious as Cristobal, now an associate coach at the University of Miami.
“It’s going to take some time to get used to the standard of behavior that I want,” Turner said. “I don’t know what it was before. It might not be much different.”
Turners said he expects most of the returning players will adhere to that standard and “if some don’t, they won’t be here.”