May 30, 2024

The Vols avoided a bowl ban despite committing “hundreds of violations” under former coach Jeremy Pruitt, who was given a six-year show-cause order. The NCAA fined Tennessee $8 million, placed the football program on probation for five years, and placed limits on scholarships and unofficial visits.

Tennessee was denied 28 scholarships in total, but the program has already taken 18 scholarships as a penalty. Additionally, Tennessee must erase all victories and records in which 16 players with valid licenses took part.

Tennessee was found guilty of eighteen Level I violations, the majority of which had to do with paying players underhand and a scheme involving the payment of recruits’ and their families’ unofficial visits—which is against NCAA regulations. The recruiting team in Tennessee kept the going unnoticed by their compliance staff. About $60,000 was the total amount of money involved in the violations.

“The football program’s culture particularly disturbed the committee. Kay Norton, the chief hearing officer for the NCAA Committee on Infractions, stated that “the compliance environment within this program for several years was demonstrably contrary to everything this voluntary association expects from member schools.”

Norton continued by saying that young program employees were reluctant to report infractions for fear of reprisals.

Tennessee also scheduled nine visits in total for six prospects and their families during the COVID-19 shutdown, which prohibited any recruiting activity. These visits were funded by Tennessee’s coaches, who “sporadically” requested that team members host prospective players during the visits.

A one-year suspension is a requirement of Pruitt’s six-year show-cause if he is hired for any athletically related position.

The worst punishment a coach can receive from the NCAA is a “show-cause” order, which forces any school that hires them while the order is in effect to appear before a committee every six months and provide documentation proving the coach has complied with NCAA regulations. While hiring them isn’t prohibited, it can seriously harm their chances of finding other work.

A two-year show-cause order was given to Derrick Ansley, the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers now. The NCAA imposed a 10-year show-case on Chantryce Boone, the assistant recruiting director, and a five-year show-cause on Bethany Gunn, the former director of recruiting. Both are no longer employed in college football.

The NCAA also upheld the five-year, four-year, and three-year show-cause orders that had previously been imposed on former assistant coach Brian Niedermeyer, former assistant Shelton Felton, former director of player personnel Drew Hughes, and former student assistant Michael Magness.

Pruitt’s spouse, Casey Pruitt, who had previously worked in compliance at other schools and also provided players with illicit payments, escaped punishment.

In addition, Tennessee will not be permitted to communicate with recruits for a total of 28 weeks over a five-year period, nor will it be permitted to host unofficial guests for 40 weeks over the same period. It must reduce 120 assessment days during the five-year probationary period and 36 official visits over the course of the five-year period.

In November 2020, an employee in the athletic department overheard a conversation regarding players receiving compensation, and the employee notified chancellor Donde Plowman of potential violations. Later that month, Tennessee hired Kansas-based outside legal firm Bond, Schoeneck & King to look into the program.

Following the discovery of several infractions, Pruitt was fired by the university in January 2021. Since 2021, when Pruitt was employed by the New York Giants as a senior defensive assistant, he has not worked in college or professional football.

Tennessee’s collaboration in the case was highly praised by the infractions committee.

The panel stated in a release that Tennessee’s cooperation during the case’s investigation and processing “was exemplary by any measure.” “Despite the heinous behavior in this case, Tennessee’s response to it is the example that all institutions should follow.”

make an effort to adhere to.

Norton stated that Tennessee might have faced a postseason ban if it had not complied with his requests as completely as it did.

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