Tennessee disputes failure to monitor its football program

University officials responded to the NCAA notice of allegations.
Pruitt fired in January of 2021
Pruitt fired in January of 2021(WVLT)
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:38 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The University of Tennessee responded to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations against the university’s football program.

The NCAA handed down 18 violations against Tennessee in July. Thursday, the university released its response, disputing segments of five of the 18 violations.

It outright disputed that they failed to monitor the football program while recruiting violations were committed under then head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

The university stated Pruitt, his wife and his staff knowingly concealed their wrongdoings despite UT’s best efforts to follow NCAA rules in monitoring the football program.

That violation carries the heaviest penalty which includes possible postseason bans.

LSU is cited multiple times within the 108-page response. WVLT’s partner at Volquest Brent Hubbs elaborated on how the violations Tennessee is facing compares to the NCAA penalizing LSU for recruiting violations by a former assistant coach. LSU was penalized with a one year probation plus a self imposed $5,000 fine.

Hubbs said, “This is what you [NCAA] did at LSU, it was a fine and show cause for the person responsible for committing the infraction. And you complimented LSU on their swift action and the fact that they were very cooperative in the investigative process. Which Tennessee notes, you guys said we did the same thing.”

Upon Tennessee’s investigation through a third party firm, they too self imposed penalties against themselves including limiting recruiting visits and scholarship reductions.

Hubbs added, “The move with the NCAA in recent years is to punish those responsible and not punish the innocent. In other words, don’t punish the current team that had nothing to do with it. Punish those who were responsible for putting Tennessee in this position and a lot of those guys aren’t coaching in college football right now and probably won’t be for a while.”

In the 108 pages, the university is mostly discrediting that they failed to monitor. They stated they acted swiftly once they became aware of what was happening.

Their actions delayed because, “Pruitt and his staff repeatedly deceived the university to such a degree that compliance staff could not reasonably prevent, or immediately detect, the intentional misconduct that occurred in this case.”

Hubbs told WVLT, “Tennessee didn’t discredit when they were tipped off by someone in the football office that something was going on. They immediately went to work on it and looking into it and took swift action. This thing came to light late November, Jeremy Pruitt was out of a job in January.”

Now, the NCAA has 60 days to respond.

Many were hopeful this matter will be resolved by the beginning of next year.