Did Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck illegally contact one of his former WMU players?

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Northern Illinois
Nov 18, 2015; DeKalb, IL, USA; Western Michigan Broncos head coach P.J. Fleck during the second quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Huskie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Former Western Michigan head football coach P.J. Fleck has made big waves since agreeing to be the next coach at the University of Minnesota.

He recently won the battle with his former employer to bring “Row the Boat” with him to Minneapolis. And shortly after being hired in early January, it was reported that nearly a dozen of players he recruited while still the Broncos head coach flipped their commitment from WMU to Minnesota after Fleck was hired on at his new job.

But there is now a recent report that Fleck might have gone just one little step too far. The Kalamazoo-based station WWMT-TV reported that the former Broncos head coach may have been in contact with one of his former players, linebacker Robert Spillane.

Spillane was granted a release from the Western Michigan football program earlier this week. There are now reports that Fleck was trying to recruit his former player before Spillane was officially released from the team.

NCAA rules state regarding transferring players: “A student-athlete who wants to transfer must receive written permission from his or her athletics director before contacting another school.”

According to the initial report, Fleck is “answering questions” regarding the matter, but neither he nor Spillane have offered to comment on the subject. A spokesperson with the Gophers football team did say that the school is “not recruiting any students from Western Michigan.”

Spillane this past season for the Broncos was their most productive player on defense. He led the team in tackles with 111 in 14 games played. He was also tied for 2nd on the team with three interceptions and tied for 3rd with 3.0 sacks. Originally it was uncertain where Spillane was going to transfer and if any restrictions will be placed on him, but that news has been made public.


NCAA transfer rules also do state that Spillane will have to sit out the 2017 season.