Former Tennessee Football Coaches Under Jeremy Pruitt Receive Show-Cause Penalties; NCAA Will Hold Hearing On Further Sanctions

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The Jeremy Pruitt era at Tennessee ended with the football program admitting to multiple NCAA violations. Now, four former coaches have had penalties levied against them by the NCAA.

According to a report, former Tennessee assistants Brian Niedermeyer, Shelton Felton, Drew Hughes and recruiting assistant Michael Magness have received their penalties. The NCAA has decided that each one will receive a show-cause penalty of 3-to-5 years, keeping them out of the college game. The ongoing dispute between the NCAA and Jeremy Pruitt continues, meaning they’ve not come to an agreement on his penalty.

“The school and other individuals involved in the case have contested either the alleged violations, the application of certain penalties, or both, and that portion of the case will be considered by the Committee on Infractions during a hearing, after which the committee will release its full decision,” the NCAA said in a release.

The release also noted that the final decision on penalties is still pending at the time, as a hearing will be taking place to discuss the ongoing matter. You can read the NCAA ruling here.

After receiving its Notice of Allegations, the NCAA alleged that Jeremy Pruitt and his staff handed out $60,000 in inducements and impermissible benefits. In the findings, it was alleged that Pruitt’s wife Casey was also involved. During the investigation into Jeremy Pruitt, it was discovered that members of the football and recruiting staff had also se tup a payment scheme with a local hotel.

Former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt. (Getty Images)

What’s Next For These Former Tennessee Coaches?

All four of these coaches admitted to lying about their part in the infractions, which the NCAA describes as ‘Ethical Conduct’. During the investigation, Tennessee found 18 Level-1 violations, but the NCAA did not hit them with the dreaded ‘Lack of Institutional Control’. If the NCAA were have to levied this penalty, the results could have been much worse.

Now, Jeremy Pruitt will continue to fight some of these allegations in his attempt to return to the college game. He spent one season in the NFL after his firing, coaching with the New York Giants in an off-field position. But, as we sit here today, the NCAA has yet to rule on Pruitt. Alabama fans were certainly hoping that Pruitt could return to the college ranks when defensive coordinator Pete Goulding left for Ole Miss.

The NOA alleged that Jeremy’s wife Casey provided $500 cash payments on 25 different occasions to an unknown player’s family member for the car. Also, the report states that Casey Pruitt and/or Brian Niedermeyer gave two $1,600 cash payments for a security deposit and initial rent payments for another person on two occasions to relocate to the Knoxville area, totaling $3,200. 

The Allegations also include a number of cash payments from Jeremy Pruitt, including a $3,000 payment in cash to a student athlete for past medical bills. The report list over 32 instances of players or potential recruits taking gifts or cash from university employees.

Currently, the NCAA and Tennessee are not agreeing as to the restrictions the Vols self-imposed. This means they will go in-front of the infractions committee to try and negotiate further restrictions, potentially to scholarships.

Now, the NCAA will look to handle the penalty phase for the current Tennessee football team. As noted before, Josh Heupel and his staff have already self-imposed a number of recruiting restrictions over the past two years, hoping to get out in-front of any long-term penalties from the NCAA.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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