John Niyo, Matt Charboneau and James Hawkins preview the Michigan and Michigan State basketball seasons, which get underway on Tuesday. The Detroit News


Ann Arbor — One day before Juwan Howard makes his official coaching debut with Michigan, he committed a minor NCAA violation.

During a news conference Monday at Crisler Center to preview the team’s regular-season opener against Appalachian State, Howard mentioned three potential recruits by name.

Under NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to publicly comment on an unsigned recruit.

Here’s how the exchange went:

Reporter: "I know in the past you spoke a lot about the adjustment required in recruiting. I'm curious how that transition has gone with the early signing period approaching?"

Howard: “It's been good. We're still grinding, plugging away. There are some guys out there who we've offered to and we're in the running (for). Hunter Dickinson is one. Moses Moody is the other. Nimari Burnett — oops, I don't know if I should be mentioning..." 

Michigan spokesperson: “You should not. You can't mention recruits.”

Howard: "Aw shucks. You see that's one of the NCAA rules I have to really get to understand and learn throughout this process. That's a part of the college coaching that's different from the NBA coaching but no excuses. I will learn these rules.”

Burnett, a five-star guard; Dickinson, a four-star center; and Moody, a four-star guard, have all already taken official visits to Michigan and have the Wolverines listed as one of their finalists.

By naming each recruiting target, Howard violated bylaw regarding comments before commitment.

According to the bylaw, “before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid or before the institution receives his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete's ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution's team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete committing to or signing with that institution.”

The infraction is a Level III/secondary violation and penalties include an institutional fine ranging from $500 to $5,000 and public reprimand, among others. 

If Michigan self-reports the violation, it’s possible no punishment will be levied. According to a Michigan spokesperson, the school’s compliance department had been notified shortly after Howard’s press conference wrapped up.

This isn't the first gaffe Howard has had when speaking about recruiting since he was hired in late May.

During his introductory news conference, he mentioned freshman guard Cole Bajema had recommitted to the program and was going to sign his letter of intent again. Bajema, though, never asked for his release and never decommitted from Michigan. And if he had, Howard's comments would've been a violation because they would’ve come before Bajema had signed.

Then during a radio interview in July, Howard provided an update on the recruitment of freshman wing Franz Wagner and mentioned him by name. However, Michigan had received Wagner’s financial aid agreement before Howard spoke about Wagner, according to a Michigan spokesperson, which meant Howard's public comments weren't a violation.

Slam dunks

Howard said the team hasn’t discussed or named any captains for the season yet.

Senior guard Zavier Simpson, senior center Jon Teske and junior forward Isaiah Livers met with officials at halfcourt before last week's exhibition against Saginaw Valley State, which is a duty typically reserved for the captains.

… Simpson is one of 50 players named to the preseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year award.

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins