So, as I settled down to watch the last day of the 2020 season, this little puppy dropped on social media.
The University of Tennessee football program is currently being investigated by its own compliance department and the NCAA into alleged recruiting violations and alleged impermissible benefits to current student-athletes.
According to sources, the University’s general counsel has been interviewing subjects that are the focus of the investigation over the past several weeks. Multiple sources suggest the investigation dates back to at least early December.
The alleged violations are said to involve players recruited by Tennessee and players currently on the roster.
Inside Linebackers Coach Brian Niedermeyer, multiple Tennessee assistant coaches, support staffers, and players have been questioned by the university’s compliance department. Also, members of Tennessee’s recruiting department have been questioned.
According to sources, Tennessee’s compliance department, including Adam Tate, was made aware of potential violations and began an investigation immediately.
Before the game, it was announced that Brian Maurer and Eric Gray would not be available, though no reason was given.
Jeremy Pruitt said postgame that Eric Gray was “Unavailable” today. When asked again about his status today, Pruitt responded “Guys, i’ve already addressed that one time.”
The story, she has legs. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach confirmed it. The school is already dodging the question with corporate gobbledygook.
“In keeping with our institutional commitment to compliance, we often look closely at regulatory issues that are brought to our attention via internal or external channels. Maintaining compliance is a shared responsibility, and active monitoring is part of that process,” athletic department spokesperson Tom Satkowiak said in a statement to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Phil Fulmer’s “institutional commitment to compliance” may be the mother of all oxymorons, but I digress. Pruitt himself was asked about the report during the presser after Tennessee’s loss ended its epic one-game winning streak and was his usual articulate self.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt did not have much to say Saturday about a report that his football program is facing investigation for alleged recruiting violations.
“I hadn’t seen no article or anything like that,” Pruitt said after Tennessee lost 34-13 to No. 5 Texas A&M. “Any time in college football or college athletics, you have typical compliance stuff. That is all I know.”
Sounds like he’s almost used to it there, no?
Anyway, when a story like this leaks at a time like this, a coincidence it’s not. This has all the earmarks of a classic Fulmer ratfuck to give him leverage to terminate Pruitt for cause. You’ll have to pardon the cynic in me if I think that Fulmer isn’t exactly arriving to the dance totally clueless about what had been happening. All of which should leave he and Jimmy Sexton doing quite the hustle with each other to figure out the course of Pruitt’s departure with minimum exposure to all concerned.
In other words, just another day in the office for Vol football. I eagerly await Clay Travis’ spin on the situation.