News Sentinel staff
Tennessee denied Friday that it had self-reported a secondary violation to the NCAA concerning contact between football coach Lane Kiffin and South Carolina signee Alshon Jeffery after national signing day on Feb. 4.
On Thursday night, WBIR-TV confirmed a story on The State newspaper's Web site that Kiffin's phone call was indeed a violation. Coaches are not allowed to contact athletes after they have signed with other schools.
UT officials weren't aware until told Friday afternoon that UT associate sports information director John Painter had confirmed the secondary violation report to The State, the daily newspaper in Columbia, S.C.
However, UT director of public relations Tiffany Carpenter, after consulting UT's compliance department Friday, said the contact "is not an NCAA violation," but rather what she called a "national letter of intent infraction."
Kiffin called Jeffery after ESPN.com reported in March that Kiffin told Jeffery he would be "pumping gas for a living" if he signed with South Carolina.
Kiffin denied the ESPN.com report. He also said that in his second call to Jeffery the player confirmed the coach did not make the comments about "pumping gas."
The News Sentinel made inquiries in March about Kiffin's second phone call to Jeffery and it did not appear there had been a secondary violation.