The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Former A&M football player accuses coaches of multiple NCAA violations

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Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Head coach Jimbo Fisher instructs players on the first day of spring football practice in March 2018. 

In statements provided to USA Today, former Texas A&M linebacker Santino Marchiol claims current A&M coaches gave him hundreds of dollars to entertain recruits and conducted offseason workouts that broke NCAA rules.
After redshirting during his first and only season at A&M in 2017 and practicing under Jimbo Fisher this spring, Marchiol transferred to The University of Arizona, where he will play under former A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Marchiol issued the statements alleging misconduct by his former assistant coaches in hopes of being cleared to play with Arizona this year instead of sitting out for a year as transfer students are typically required to do.
The NCAA recently approved a policy that would allow transfer students to bypass their year on the bench and start playing immediately if there is “documented mitigating circumstances that are outside student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.”
Marchiol said A&M linebacker coach Bradley Dale Peveto game him hundreds of dollars to entertain recruits on their unofficial visits to College Station. This happened on two separate occasions, according to Marchiol, who said the first time was in a bathroom after the Aggies’ spring football game in April.
“There were coaches having meetings in the other office, and he said, here, come in the bathroom real quick because he’d just asked me to host the recruit,” Marchiol told USA Today. “So, I went in the bathroom and it was just me and him in there, and he’s like, ‘Take this, if you need any more just text me and make sure they have a good time.’”
While current players can host recruits during unofficial visits, NCAA rules state they are only allotted $40. The university cannot pay for recruit expenses but can provide three free tickets to A&M athletic events.
Marchiol also claims the program broke several NCAA rules regarding the duration of practices and meetings.
What was supposed to be an eight-hour week with two hours given for film review, Marchiol said, turned into a full-time work schedule. NCAA rules also state that “required athletically related activities” are not allowed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Despite these rules, Marchiol said on Wednesdays they were required to show up for conditioning drills at no later than 5:15 a.m.
Defensive coordinator Mike Elko made it clear the team needed to work extra hours since they were behind and needed to win, Marchiol said.
“He said, ‘We’re going to have a lot of meetings and practices that aren’t technically required, but you guys have to be here because your way behind. We need to win,’” Marchiol said.
According to Marchiol and his father, Ken Marchiol, vulgar language was used toward the players in a demeaning manner.
Speaking with USA Today, Ken Marchiol described his experience after witnessing the coaches in practice, saying “it wasn’t teaching, just attacking.”
In his final set of allegations toward the program, Marchiol described A&M staffs’ treatment of his ankle injury in June.
During a team warm up on June 11, Marchiol said he heard a pop while to landing on his right foot. Marchiol had suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot a few months before, requiring three screws to correct. According to Marchiol, the Colorado doctor who performed the operation warned him to be careful with his feet in the months that followed.
Marchiol said the day his ankle popped, recently-hired athletic training director Dan Jacobi and another trainer, Dalis Boyette taped his ankle while rubbing Tiger Balm on it. Jacobi then instructed him to take four ibuprofens and said X-rays would be taken later, but still encouraged him to practice.
However, when his lower leg continued to swell up and bruise, Marchiol said he was made to feel like he didn’t know his body well enough.
“Dan said there was no fracture but that it was a Grade 2 (ankle sprain) and there was probably some ligament damage,” Marchiol said. “I told him with the last staff I had this happen and I didn’t feel like I could be my best at practice. It was hard to even walk on. He made me feel stupid because he’d say something to reassure me but I know my body. My whole foot swelled up.”
After the statement was released by Marchiol, A&M provided a statement to USA Today saying “Texas A&M Athletics takes these allegations seriously, and we are reviewing the situation with the NCAA and the SEC Office.”
Fisher and his staff have yet to make an official comment on the allegations, though Fisher did address the subject briefly during an after-practice press conference.
“I was informed the article came out,” Fisher said. “I haven’t read it. I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t comment on it. I’ll comment on the players on our team right now. That’s all I can do.”

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