KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Monday, head coach Jeremy Pruitt was among 10 Tennessee football staffers that were fired as a result of “serious violations of NCAA rules” according to the University of Tennessee.
NCAA violations timeline per Chancellor Plowman
- November 13: “A credible source” verbally reported NCAA violations committed by the Vols football program
- Later on in the presser, when asked about the “credible source” who first reported the NCAA violations, Plowman said she couldn’t say who/where they are/from, but emphasized them as “a very credible source.”
- November 19: University of Tennessee retains Bond, Schoeneck, and King PLLC
- December: NCAA opens a formal investigation, this after UT informed the SEC and NCAA about the allegations
- January 14: Head coach Jeremy Pruitt interviewed by NCAA enforcement staff and attorneys retained by UT
- January 15: Bond, Schoeneck, and King PLLC meets with university leaders about the investigation; from which leaders determined the firing of 10 Vols football staff including head coach Pruitt for NCAA violations
- Now: NCAA investigation, and compliance investigation continues, and the information indicates serious violations.
“I can tell you this, the information provided today indicates a serious number of violations of NCAA rules.”Donde Plowman
In a release from the university, it states that, “The information also made clear that Coach Pruitt did not meet the university’s expectations for promoting an atmosphere of compliance and/or monitoring the activities of the coaches and staff who report to him.”
In a letter to Jeremy Pruitt, it states that,
“Beginning immediately, you are suspended with pay pending with the effective date of your termination. You are directed not to contact, directly or indirectly, current student athletes, prospective student athletes, or employees of the athletics department prior to the effective date of you termination. If you would the opportunity to address the team, we can make arrangements for you to record a video statement and (provided we find the content acceptable) we will share that with the team.”
In a letter to Jeremy Pruitt, Chancellor Plowman outlines cause, and alleged violations he engaged in
- Conduct or omission(s) by coach that constitutes a Level I or Level II violation of one or more governing athletic rules; or conduct or omission(s) by coach that is likely to lead to an NCAA finding of a Level I or Level II violation of one or more governing athletic rules
- Conduct or omission(s) by a person who reports, directly or indirectly, to coach that constitutes a Level I or Level II violation of one or more governing Athletic rules, and involves either material neglect or lack of reasonable preventative compliance measures by coach; or conduct or omission(s) by a person who reports, directly or indirectly, to coach that is likely to lead to an NCAA finding or a Level I or Level II violation of one or more governing athletic rules and involves either material neglect or lack of reasonable preventative compliance measures by coach.
- Coach’s: failure to promote and maintain an atmosphere of compliance with governing athletic rules and university rules within the football program; failure to take other reasonable steps to ensure that such persons know and strictly comply with governing athletic rules and university rules.
- Conduct or omission(s) by coach that constitutes material neglect or inattention by coach to the standards or duties generally expected of university employees and specifically required of coach under this agreement (however such conduct or omission(s) shall not constitute cause if, in the university’s good faith judgment, the breach is capable of being cured, and coach cures the breach within 15 calendar days after written notice by the university specifying the nature of the breach)
- Conduct or omission(s) by coach which brings or is substantially likely to bring coach and/or the university into considerable public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, scandal, or ridicule
- Any other material breach by coach of coach’s duties or responsibilities under this agreement if in the university’s reasonable and good faith judgement, the breach is capable of being cured and coach fails to cure the material breach within 15 calendar days after written notice by the university specifying the nature of the breach, or in the university’s reasonable and good faith judgement, the breach is not capable of being cured.
Below is the termination letter from the Office of the Chancellor to Jeremy Pruitt:
Those involved according to UT
- Head coach Jeremy Pruitt
- Assistant football coaches Brian Niedermeyer and Shelton Felton
- Four staff members with on-campus football recruiting
- Director and assistant director of football player personnel
- A football analyst/quality control coach
Chancellor Plowman adds, “What is so disturbing, as demonstrated by the scope of these actions, is the number of violations and people involved and their efforts to conceal their activities from our compliance staff and from the Athletic department’s leaders.”
She also says that the investigation didn’t find anyone outside of the football office involved in the allegations.
What’s next for Tennessee football?
- Hiring a new athletic director
- Hiring a new head coach
- Concluding NCAA investigation and compliance investigation
- Moving forward with defensive assistant coach Kevin Steele as acting head coach
- Replacing nine other staffers fired as a result of this investigation
- Transfer portal
- Some players have already announced they’ve either entered the transfer portal, withdrawn from the transfer portal, or will transfer to another university