clearn.png
Wednesday August 10th, 2022 1:12AM

NCAA charges Tennessee with 18 major violations under Pruitt

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Tennessee hopes its “exemplary cooperation” with the NCAA helps the Volunteers avoid serious punishment from 18 major rules violations as easily as they dodged paying former coach Jeremy Pruitt's multi-million dollar buyout.

The NCAA notified Tennessee on Friday of the Level 1 violations, the NCAA's most serious, for allegations of providing impermissible cash, gifts and benefits worth about $60,000 to football recruits and their families under Pruitt. The notice of allegations says at least a dozen members of Pruitt’s staff were involved in more than 200 individual violations over a two-year period.

Tennessee has until Oct. 20 to respond, according to the letter it received from the association's enforcement staff.

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

Chancellor Donde Plowman had said Pruitt was responsible for overseeing the football program. Tennessee also fired two assistants and seven members of the recruiting and support staff. Pruitt, three of his assistants and three other staffers could face show-cause penalties making it difficult for them to get another college job after a hearing is held with the NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions.

“In every step of this process, we took quick and decisive actions that exemplified the longstanding values of the NCAA reiterated in the membership’s new constitution,” Plowman said in a statement Friday. “The university hired outside counsel to fully investigate allegations about the football program, acted promptly to terminate the employment of football coaches and staff members, and shared our conclusions with the NCAA enforcement staff.”

Pruitt told ESPN he was still reading through the report and seeing a lot of information in the allegations for the first time.

“I’d rather not comment a whole lot past that, other than to say that I’m looking forward to telling my side of the story somewhere down the road,” Pruitt said.

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

The complaint notes how Tennessee handled its investigation “should be the standard for any institutional inquiries into potential violations." The NCAA noted Tennessee immediately mirror-imaged football staffers' cell phones leading to information “that substantiated the violations alleged.”

Tennessee wrapped up its investigation last November and announced then it wouldn't self-impose a bowl ban to avoid penalizing current players and coaches. New athletic director Danny White, who replaced the retiring Phillip Fulmer, hired Josh Heupel in late January 2021.

Plowman noted the NCAA enforcement staff recognized the university’s “exemplary cooperation” in the case.

“While we will take appropriate responsibility, last fall, the university announced that we will not self-impose penalties that harm innocent student-athletes like postseason bans based upon the actions of coaches and staff who are no longer part of the institution,” Plowman said.

Three Level I allegations involve impermissible visits during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period.

On nine separate weekends from July to November 2020, about $12,100 in impermissible recruiting inducements and unofficial visit expenses were provided for six recruits and their families to come to the Knoxville area, according to the complaint.

Among the allegations, on at least 31 occasions from January 2019-March 2021, outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton, inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer, recruiting staff member Bethany Gunn and Pruitt's wife, Casey Pruitt, provided about $16,300 in impermissible benefits to an individual in the form of cash, parking to attend home football games and entertainment expenses to host a recruit's mother.

And on 25 occasions from January 2019-March 2021, Casey Pruitt allegedly provided a total of $12,500 in cash benefits to an individual for monthly car payments.

Pruitt and two recruiting staffers provided or arranged for approximately $11,223 on at least 20 occasions between January 2019-December 2020. That includes $2,443 reimbursed to the assistant director of recruiting using CashApp for costs that covered furniture, household goods or party decorations.

The then-head coach also provided approximately $6,000 in cash toward a down payment toward a new car during an unofficial visit.

White said in a statement that receiving the notice of allegations “was an expected, requisite step in this process — a process our university initiated proactively through decisive and transparent actions. This moves us one step closer to a final resolution.

“Until we get to that point, I am unable to discuss the case in any detail. As a university, we understand the need to take responsibility for what occurred, but we remain committed to protecting our current and future student-athletes.”

___

AP Sports Writer John Raby contributed to this report.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
NCAA charges Tennessee with 18 major violations under Pruitt
The NCAA has charged Tennessee with 18 recruiting violations involving allegations of impermissible cash, gifts and benefits given under former football coach Jeremy Pruitt
4:54PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Election-denying Colorado clerk surrenders to authorities
A rural Colorado official known as the state’s most prominent election denier has surrendered to authorities amid allegations she violated terms of release as she waits for her trial on accusations of breaking into her county’s election system
4:44PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Police: 3 fatally shot at Iowa state park; gunman also dead
Police say three family members were shot to death while camping in a state park in eastern Iowa, and the suspected gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
4:41PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
ACC, SEC reap benefits from transfers moving between leagues
The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences are welcoming plenty of transfers bouncing between throughout their Southern-footprint leagues
2:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
Iowa, facing race litigation, hires 2 new diversity staffers
Iowa hired Lorenda Holston as assistant athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion and Anthony Embry for the newly created position of athletics academic and diversity coordinator
2:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
QB Deshaun Watson reports to Browns camp not knowing future
Deshaun Watson reported to his first training camp with the Cleveland Browns not knowing how long he’ll be their starting quarterback
2:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
AP source: Browns to sign Rosen as team awaits Watson ruling
A person familiar with the deal tells the AP that the Cleveland Browns have reached an agreement with free agent quarterback Josh Rosen on a one-year contract
7:33PM ( 21 hours ago )
Narduzzi raises bar for defending ACC champion Pitt
Pittsburgh Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi is raising the bar for the defending ACC champions
5:35PM ( 23 hours ago )
ACC's quartet of new coaches adds wrinkle to wild division
The Atlantic Coast Conference has four new coaches for this season, all in the same division
5:21PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Rapinoe, King urge freedom for Brittney Griner at The ESPYS
Detained WNBA star Brittney Griner was front and center at The ESPYS
9:31AM ( 1 day ago )
Newsom wants explanation from UCLA about move to Big Ten
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is demanding an explanation from UCLA officials about their move to the Big Ten Conference
1:41AM ( 1 day ago )
ACC looking for ways to boost revenue, shrink financial gap
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Jim Phillips says the league is looking for ways to boost its revenue and shrink a rising financial gap with leagues like the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference
6:03PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
New California gun control law mimics Texas abortion measure
California is punching back against two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions as Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a gun control law patterned after a Texas anti-abortion law
4:09PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Raspy-voiced Biden declares he feels 'better than I sound'
COVID symptoms left President Joe Biden with a deep, raspy voice and persistent cough as he met Friday via videoconference with his top economic team, but he tried to strike a reassuring tone, declaring, “I feel much better than I sound.”
3:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
'A beacon of hope': Ukraine, Russia sign grain export deal
Ships full of Ukrainian wheat and other food may be safely sailing across the Black Sea in the next few weeks after Ukraine and Russia signed a U.N. export deal
3:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Sankey sees changes in stronger SEC with expansion, playoff
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey says the league “is stronger now than at any other time in our history.”
7:19PM ( 3 days ago )
Kiffin describes opening query about Saban as 'pretty usual'
Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin provided a strong hint he and other SEC coaches who were former assistants on Alabama coach Nick Saban’s staff, including Georgia coach Kirby Smart, may grow tired of questions about their former boss
5:44PM ( 3 days ago )
Sankey says SEC won't panic over conference expansion race
The Southeastern Conference is a leading player in dramatic changes to the national football landscape
4:33PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Meeting over Uvalde school police chief's future canceled
Uvalde school officials are pushing back a decision on the future of embattled district Police Chief Pete Arredondo
4:52PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Election-denying Colorado clerk surrenders to authorities
A rural Colorado official known as the state’s most prominent election denier has surrendered to authorities amid allegations she violated terms of release as she waits for her trial on accusations of breaking into her county’s election system
4:44PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Police: 3 fatally shot at Iowa state park; gunman also dead
Police say three family members were shot to death while camping in a state park in eastern Iowa, and the suspected gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
4:41PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Trump, Pence campaigning for rivals in Ariz. governor's race
Former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence, are campaigning Friday in Arizona for rival candidates for governor
4:31PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Jan. 6 probes: What's next for Congress, criminal cases
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has wrapped up its public hearings — each featuring revelatory details about the day of violence itself or the weeks of efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election
4:27PM ( 35 minutes ago )