Mo’ne Davis, the teenage pitcher who made headlines last month thanks to her knee-bending curveballs with Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons at the Little League World Series, has been seen lately wearing a UConn sweatshirt in public, whether it be attending a WNBA playoff game to meet with Maya Moore and Brittney Griner or signing autographs with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. Turns out, Davis harbors hopes of playing point guard for the Huskies one day, as basketball is her sport of choice despite all the celebrity baseball has brought her this summer.
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma spoke with Davis, 13, on the phone for what he says was “two minutes” to congratulate her. An unnamed American Athletic Conference team filed a complaint about this call being a recruiting violation, reports the Hartford Courant.
From the Courant:
Auriemma was then contacted by the communications office of Little League and it was agreed that he would just call and relay a message. When Auriemma called, Davis was in the room and was handed the phone.
“The conversation lasted like two minutes and we hung up,” Auriemma said. “And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school. … That’s the world that we live in.”
UConn says it doesn’t believe the call is a violation because Davis is only in eighth grade. By NCAA definition a “prospective student athlete” starts when someone begins ninth grade.
Auriemma, who like Davis is from Philadelphia, continued, saying he knew nothing about Davis’ basketball skills:
“Under normal circumstances, I would probably not know anything about her until she was in ninth grade,” Auriemma said. “I have no idea if the kid is very good, kind of good, not good at all or a superstar or can even reach the basket. How is that a violation?
“So what does this mean? If a kid wins a swimming contest somewhere and is wearing a [UConn] sweat shirt and I call to congratulate her in seventh grade, is someone now going to say you are not allowed to do that? Well, why not? Isn’t that unbelievable?
“There are guys playing college basketball driving around in cars worth more than my house and we’re worried about a phone call to a little girl?”
UConn has won nine NCAA championships since 1995, including the last two so it’s not much of a surprise that Davis would want to play for the Huskies given the opportunity. Moore is also cited as her favorite player.
It’s not that surprising, either, that an AAC rival would be petty and want to complain. Granted, reporting something minor like this as a potential violation probably isn’t going to close the gap between the unnamed school and the Huskies any time soon.