Tennessee's Maui Ahuna Has Been Cleared, No Further Suspension For Tony Vitello From School

Tennessee announced Monday that Tony Vitello will not be additionally suspended and Maui Ahuna has been cleared by the NCAA to return. The investigation into the recruitment of Kansas transfer Maui Ahuna led to the discovery of NCAA violations, which Vitello fully cooperated with.

On Monday, the NCAA cleared Maui Ahuna to play, and he's expected to make his season debut Tuesday. Also, the school announced that Tony Vitello will not face further punishment from the school. He has served a 3-game suspension.

"We are pleased to announce that Coach Vitello has completed his three-game suspension. He will be back in the dugout leading our baseball team tomorrow. We are also thrilled that Maui Ahuna's eligibility has been reinstated, and he is available to join Tennessee's active roster effective immediately"

The NCAA is still investigating Tony Vitello for recruiting infractions.

As OutKick reported Friday, Tony Vitello and the Tennessee baseball program were under an investigation by the NCAA regarding Ahuna, a shortstop, for a number of months, dating back to his commitment to Tennessee. This inquiry involved alleged tampering or as other sources described it as 'impermissible contact' with Ahuna before he chose the Vols.

A coach cannot meet with a player or have any contact with the player before they officially enter the transfer portal.

Tennessee had 'self-imposed' the suspension of Vitello, meaning this did not come from the NCAA. Both the administration and Vitello have admitted to an NCAA infraction, with the hopes that further punishment won't be necessary.

Ahuna has missed the past eight games for Tennessee, with the NCAA not ruling him eligible. Details of the first infraction were reported by Knox News, detailing a Level III violation on Tennessee's part. The infraction centered around the Vols booking Ahuna a flight to Knoxville before receiving his transcript. This is considered a minor violation.

This would technically be the second violation that occurred during the recruitment of Ahuna, as the coveted transfer portal prospect decided to leave Kansas in May of 2022. According to sources, it's alleged that Vitello had 'impermissible contact' with Maui, which led to multiple interviews with the NCAA over the past seven months.

There were multiple schools recruiting Ahuna, with Arkansas and LSU being close contenders for the transfer. Heading into his visit at Tennessee, Maui was scheduled to visit LSU following the Knoxville trip. But, there wasn't a need to visit Baton Rouge, with Ahuna committing to Tennessee.

Also, as reported Friday, the NCAA was tipped off to alleged recruiting improprieties by a few schools. The Tennessee baseball program has been waiting for official word on Ahuna, dating back to the season opener in Arizona. One of the problems we have seen around college athletics over the past number of years has been centered around timing of eligibility announcements.

Now, the Tennessee baseball program can move forward for the time being, with the NCAA still looking into violations.

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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.