KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – University of Tennessee personnel with three different athletics programs committed minor NCAA recruiting violations last year, according to a document obtained by WATE.
The infractions were related to football, baseball and women’s cross-country recruiting efforts.
All three were classified as Level III violations. The NCAA uses a four-tiered infraction system with Level I described as a “severe breach of conduct” and Level IV described as “incidental issues.”
A football assistant coach was deemed to have made impermissible recruiting communications when he spoke with a former high school coach of a player one day before they entered the transfer portal.
According to the document, the athlete asked his former high school coach to initiate contact with NCAA coaches to gauge their potential interest in recruiting him once he entered the portal following the 2021 season. The Tennessee coach exchanged six text messages and four phone calls, two of which went to voicemail, with the high school coach.
The report said the athlete had attempted to enter the portal earlier, though it is unclear why he was unable to. This led to confusion by his high school coach on his transfer status prior to his official entrance to the portal.
The report noted that the assistant coach had previously served in a similar role at the student-athletes school and had recruited him out of high school.
The athlete’s former high school coach initiated the conversation and no communications between the Tennessee coach and athlete were made before he entered the transfer portal. The university ceased recruiting the athlete and the assistant coach was prohibited from recruiting activities for 15 days.
Following the conclusion of a baseball camp, a volunteer coach loaned four jersey combinations to the parent of a prospect to make a social media video.
The volunteer coach also called and texted the parent regarding the logistics of returning the uniforms, constituting impermissible communications because the athlete was not of age to receive phone calls or text messages as a prospective athlete.
For most sports, coaches can begin reaching out to athletes starting June 15 after their sophomore year or Sep. 1 of their junior year of high school.
As a result, Tennessee is prohibited from contacting the prospect for a 60-day period in 2024 and is prohibited from having an in-person visit with the prospect in 2025. Tennessee will be limited to just one in-person, off-campus meeting with the prospect.
The volunteer was also prohibited from calling or texting any prospects for a 28-day period last year and from taking part in any in-person recruiting activities for a 30-day period in 2022.
A coach violated NCAA rules when they reposted an Instagram post made by a women’s cross-country athlete Tennessee was recruiting. Coaches are only allowed to “like” or “favorite” posts by athletes until the athlete signs their national letter of intent or enrolls at the school.
The coach was given a two-week ban from any telephone contact with prospective student-athletes and Tennessee was prohibited from contacting or sending recruiting materials to the prospect for 30 days.