KNOXVILLE- The Tennessee football program received the long awaited Notice of Allegations from the NCAA on Friday, a day after the Vols appeared at SEC Media Days. The timing couldn’t have been better for the athletic department. The NCAA alleges that the former staff led by Jeremy Pruitt committed 18 Level-1 violations, along with a laundry list of lesser charges.
In conduction with the release from the school, Chancellor Donde Plowman and Athletic Director Danny White with released statements regarding the investigation.
The Chancellor discussed the quick a decisive actions taken by the school once they were made aware of the problems inside the program.
“Earlier today, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding the football program led by former head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
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 added. “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.”
In their notice to Tennessee, the NCAA praised the school for their efforts in cooperating with enforcement officials, in this further statement from Plowman.
“The NCAA Division I Board of Directors recently endorsed significant reforms to the infractions process proposed by the Transformation Committee, including clearly and meaningfully incentivizing the type of responsive institutional actions we took in this case – self-detection and reporting, self-accountability, and the active involvement of the institution’s chief executive. The NCAA enforcement staff recognized the university’s “exemplary cooperation” in the case and stated that “[t]he actions taken by the institution during the investigation should be the standard for any institutional inquiries into potential violations.”
The school also made it clear through Plowman’s statement that they reaffirm their commitment to not self-imposing any type of postseason ban.
“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. Under the NCAA’s new constitution, rules “must ensure to the greatest extent possible that penalties imposed for infractions do not punish programs or student-athletes not involved or implicated in the infraction(s).”
Athletic Director Danny White was hired by Tennessee after the school had launched the investigation and Phillip Fulmer stepped away from the program. But, he has been major part in what the school has been doing alongside the NCAA during this process. He released a statement on Friday.
“Receipt of our 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.”
This could’ve gone a bunch of different ways for the Tennessee football program, but the NCAA will most likely punish the folks responsible for this and not the football team as a whole. This will mean potential ‘show cause’ penalties for all parties involved. The school did not get hit with the ‘ Lack of Institutional Control’, which should be seen as a win, coming out of this all.
Now we wait for Tennessee to respond and the NCAA to decide if further punishment is necessary, as the Vols football program as already self-imposed recruiting restrictions last season to get ahead of any further punishment.