Tennessee tells NCAA Jeremy Pruitt staff ‘cheated’ monitors

Tennessee is defending itself against the NCAA’s Level I charge of failing to monitor the football program, saying former coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine others fired ‘repeatedly misled’ administrators and compliance staff “overseeing the program.

“The University respectfully submits that it is unrealistic to expect any institution to immediately prevent or detect the intentional and covert misconduct that occurred in this case,” Tennessee wrote in the 108-page response. dated Monday and first obtained by Knox News on Thursday. .

Tennessee launched an internal investigation following a whistleblower on Nov. 13, 2020, and found what the university’s chancellor called “serious violations of NCAA rules.” Pruitt and nine others were fired for cause in January 2021, reversing Pruitt’s $12.6 million buyout after he went 16-19 in three seasons.

NCAA investigators opened a case in December 2020 and became more involved in the two weeks before Pruitt was fired.

The NCAA notified Tennessee in July of the most serious Level 1 violations for allegedly providing impermissible money, gifts and benefits worth approximately $60,000 to soccer rookies and their families. under Pruitt. The notice of allegations says at least a dozen Pruitt staffers were implicated in more than 200 individual violations over a two-year period.

The university argued in its response that it “demonstrated its unprecedented commitment to integrity” led by Chancellor Donde Plowman by investigating and holding everyone accountable while protecting athletes from consequences.

Cellphones of college football staff were mirrored, leading to information noted by the NCAA in July that helped substantiate the alleged violations. Security footage of a Knoxville hotel was also included.

In addition to Pruitt, Tennessee has laid off two assistants and seven recruiting and support staff. Pruitt, three of his assistants and three other staff members could face cause penalties, which would prevent them from obtaining other university employment after a hearing with the Division I infraction committee of the NCAA.

“The factual information in this case demonstrates that experienced football coaches and non-coaching personnel knowingly violated longstanding and universally understood NCAA rules and went to great lengths to cover up their misconduct,” wrote Tennessee in its response.

The university noted that recruitment visits were monitored according to industry standards, including “the integration of an experienced compliance staff member into the program.”

Tennessee’s response also cited eight specific instances of precedent where universities imposed sanctions on themselves or had aggravating circumstances, as well as NCAA notes from April and May meetings on transforming its own rules for the name, image and likeness and transfer portal.

The university argued that Tennessee’s infractions case will go to the Division I Infractions Committee at a time of significant transformation in how college athletics and infractions are handled.

“Intercollegiate athletics is dramatically different today than when the University began this investigation more than two years ago,” Tennessee’s response said.

Tennessee concluded its investigation last November and announced it would not impose a bowl ban to avoid penalizing current players and coaches.

New sporting director Danny White, who replaced Phillip Fulmer, hired Josh Heupel at the end of January 2021.

The Volunteers (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) are currently ranked ninth and can clinch their first record 10 regular season wins since 2001 with a victory Saturday night at Vanderbilt.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button