Wednesday, February 23, 2011

University of Tennessee releases NCAA Notice of Allegations

image Affects men’s Basketball and Football programs, Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl and former Head Football Coach, Lane Kiffin.

To wit:

The University of Tennessee yesterday received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding the school's men's basketball and football programs.

This Notice results from a 22-month investigation by the NCAA and the University of Tennessee in response to reports of alleged violations reported by the University and from external sources. The University and its Athletics Department have cooperated fully with the NCAA in this matter, and the receipt of the Notice of Allegations signifies the end of the initial review and fact-finding period.

While an examination into potential rules violations by the University of Tennessee baseball program was referenced in the initial Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA, there are no alleged violations by the baseball program listed in this Notice.

The Notice contains the following allegations of violation of NCAA rules against the men's basketball program:

  • Impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes resulting from a cumulative total of 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period (Aug. 1, 2007 through July 29, 2009).
  • By the head men's basketball coach: impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes during an unofficial visit, acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches within the men's basketball program.
  • By the head men's basketball coach and associate head coach: impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete at his high school.
  • By the three members of the men's basketball assistant coaching staff: failure to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation.
The notice contains the following allegations of violation of NCAA rules against the football program:
  • By former members of the football coaching staff: impermissible telephone contact (16 total calls) with prospective student-athletes from Jan. 3-9, 2010.
  • By a former assistant football coach: allegations relating to impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes.
  • By a former head football coach: failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches have also been made against a former head football coach, and permitting a football recruiting intern to make impermissible contact with high school staff during a recruiting visit.
Additionally, the University is alleged to have failed to monitor the men's basketball coaching staff's telephone contacts with prospective student-athletes and their relatives in order to ensure compliance with NCAA telephone contact legislation (from Aug. 1, 2007 - July 29, 2009).

The University has a deadline of May 21, 2011 to formulate and submit a response to this Notice of Allegations to the NCAA. It is anticipated that the University's appearance before the Committee on Infractions will be during the committee's meeting on June 10-11, 2011.

Because the University and Athletic Department are now in the response phase of this process, there will be no further public comments regarding this matter by any University official until this process is complete.

At first blush, the underlined allegations appear to be the most serious.  Men’s Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl is alleged to have had impermissible contact with prospective student athletes and then lying to investigators about it.

The failure to monitor allegation is against former Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin. This allegation—to the relief of the UT faithful—stops short of the dreaded “lack of institutional control” violation that typically triggers near catastrophic penalties.

Via Twitter and online press reports, Lane Kiffin is declining comment on advice of counsel.

To my Vol friends, good luck and Godspeed. I am a fan and admirer of Coach Derek Dooley and I think he comes through this fine.

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