The NCAA announced additional penalties that have been levied against Tennessee stemming from a major infractions case involving former assistant Willie Mack Garza, who was on ex-Vols coach Lane Kiffin's staff during the 2009 season.
The additional penalties include a two-year addition of the probation levied during the 2011 infractions case, a reduction in the official visits from 51 to 47 during the 2012-13 academic year, a reduction in the evaluation days during the spring 2012 evaluation period (already completed) and the elimination of complimentary tickets for the first two conference games during the 2013 season for prospects making unofficial visits.
Officials at Tennessee met with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions on Oct. 13 for an expedited penalty hearing on an agreed upon summary disposition report submitted last June.
Coach Dooley now has a built-in argument to keep his job for at least one more year, if not the next two.
There’s no doubt that he inherited a mess when he was hired in 2009. There’s no doubt that NCAA sanctions—designed to punish programs that cheat—have and will continue to have an impact on that program.
Dooley can now argue that he deserves at least another year to bring in his own recruits in sanction-free classes and prove that he can turn the program around. While the 2012 season has been almost as big of a disappointment as last year’s disastrous 5-7 season, his team hasn’t quit on him like the Auburn and Kentucky teams have quit on their staffs.
Tennessee can still go bowling with wins at Vanderbilt (a tough out) and Kentucky, but they have to win them both. Do so, make the argument above and it’s another year of Orange Pants and esoteric statements in press conferences.