Over the last six months or so, Dan Patrick has turned into a prolific college football insider. Today, he dropped a bombshell: Tennessee assistants were apparently handing out cash to recruits in McDonald’s bags.
Source: Tennessee #Vols got sloppy with recruiting. They were handing recruits cash in McDonald's bags when they visited campus.
Also a name to look out for to fill the Head Coaching vacancy: Jason Witten pic.twitter.com/HKDd02rldz
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) January 19, 2021
“Some of the campus visits were not organized or they were not above board, but they were handing out cash — I don’t know if it was through the drive-thru,” he joked. “So you literally had bag-men and they put the cash in McDonald’s bags and handed it to the recruits. My source said they were so in-your-face with this. They weren’t even trying to hide it. And that’s where my source said, ‘Tennessee got sloppy. Georgia has gotten sloppy, but there’s been no word on the NCAA looking at Georgia.'”
Dan Patrick also said it didn’t sound like the SEC would be keen on Hugh Freeze getting the coaching job, that Peyton Manning and the Haslam brothers (Bill, who is former governor of Tennessee, and Jimmy, who owns the Cleveland Browns) would be involved in the coaching search, and that one name to keep an eye on would be Jason Witten, who grew up in Tennessee and played for the Vols in college.
Tennessee fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine other football staffers on Monday, after conducting an investigation the last couple months. While there was no evidence that Pruitt was involved in the recruiting violations, Tennessee believed that language in his contract enabled them to fire him for cause. Pruitt’s attorney came out swinging last night.
I guess we’ll see what happens with Tennessee and the NCAA from here, but this report sure makes it sound like they weren’t nearly careful enough with their cash transactions to have them slide under the radar. We assume these payments happen all over the place, but Tennessee is the program that got caught in this instance.