Orange Pride not a new concept

Photo of Orange Pride group copied from University of Tennessee football media guide.

Photo of Orange Pride group copied from University of Tennessee football media guide.

They are called the Orange Pride, no longer Vol Hostesses.

They hold paid jobs directed by the admissions office, not the athletic department.

One thing hasn't changed: they're still attractive and personable and a valuable asset in the recruiting wars.

The University of Tennessee's Orange Pride became a household name in the sports world Wednesday.

UT confirmed that the NCAA is investigating allegations detailed in a New York Times story that recruiting hostesses traveled out of state to help woo prospects to Lane Kiffin's football program.

Campus hostesses have been part of the recruiting landscape for decades, at least back to the 1960s. The general idea is that they make recruits and their families comfortable during campus visits.

Groups of attractive coeds used to have catchy names like the "Gator Getters" (Florida) or the "Hurricane Honeys" (Miami).

But that landscape has changed in the 2000s.

Sex scandals, particularly a notorious one at Colorado in 2001, have led to a more defined role for recruiting hostesses.

In 2004, UT renamed the Vol Hostess program the Orange Pride and made other changes.

About the same time Alabama dropped the "Bama Belles" designation of its program. Most schools made similar adjustments under the urging of the NCAA and various conferences.

Though by less fetching names, hostesses still play a prominent role in recruiting.

The Orange Pride has about 75 members, including a handful of male students.

In a Jan. 30, 2006, story in Sports Illustrated, Orange Pride co-captains Gerrin Harrison and Susan Towns wrote that the selection process was very competitive since "some of the UT assistant football coaches sit in on our interviews.''

That is no longer the case, UT spokesperson Karen Collins said Wednesday.

"The interviews are done by the professional staff of the admissions office," Collins said. "Coaches have not been involved (for some time).''

The group is selected through an application process each spring. It is restricted to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Collins said Orange Pride members are paid by the admissions office and assist in general recruiting functions that do not involve athletes.

Through the admissions office, members list their availability for various time slots. The program is directed by Kris Ann Hawkins, who was not speaking to the media Wednesday.

"Some work a lot and some do the minimum to stay in the program,'' Collins said.

"It's based on their availability. The director of the program works in partnership with the athletic department.''

Candidates are tested for sports knowledge. They also are orientated to NCAA rules and specific Orange Pride regulations, Collins said.

While all schools manage to drop photos of an attractive coed or two in their football media guide, Tennessee is the only SEC school devoting a full-page display for its hosting organization. Georgia includes a small photo of its group.

While hostesses leaving campus to help recruit is unusual - and possibly an NCAA violation - it is apparently not unprecedented.

In a published account in 2002, an Arizona State University hostess said she travelled to a high school to visit a prominent recruit.

The hostess said she paid her own way and wasn't directed to do so by the ASU coaching staff.

UT's Orange Pride lists its mission as follows:

"The primary duty is to promote the university and its strong academic programs, its rich traditions and winning athletics programs to campus visitors and potential student-athletes.''

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Comments » 70

golfin_blondie writes:

During my time at Tennessee I was a hostness and my daughter is currently a hostness at MS State and I will assure you I nor she has done anything against any rule. I would go as far as to say most do not. I do know that every organization, every business, every family, every whatever has those who do not follow the rules and it makes life hard on everyone. Please everyone let this play out before any judgments are made. I cannot say it didn't happen......I cannot say it did....I was not there. It just surprises me they are picking at the small details off the field and not addressing the bigger issues especially on the field. Case in point....bad calls determining outcome of the games.....players trying to physcially injury another player.........I personally think they need to be looking at what happens on the field and when they get the game following the rules then look at the other things. Okay I feel better now that I have vented.

bobbytodd writes:

If they didn't pay the student or have sex with them who cares. They carried a sign to a high school football game maybe?? How many kids could be put through college with the money the NCAA will spend on this investigation?

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

So, again, what's the big deal, except trying to gouge UT?

ncvol17 writes:

our own 'bunny ranch'... the menu of options?

2minuteoffense writes:

NYT reporter Pete Thamel is a shill for the Gators...this will get deep - http://13psi.com/something-stinks-in-...

TommyJack writes:

When TN is exonerated, how do you unring the bell?

sampears writes:

in response to golfin_blondie:

During my time at Tennessee I was a hostness and my daughter is currently a hostness at MS State and I will assure you I nor she has done anything against any rule. I would go as far as to say most do not. I do know that every organization, every business, every family, every whatever has those who do not follow the rules and it makes life hard on everyone. Please everyone let this play out before any judgments are made. I cannot say it didn't happen......I cannot say it did....I was not there. It just surprises me they are picking at the small details off the field and not addressing the bigger issues especially on the field. Case in point....bad calls determining outcome of the games.....players trying to physcially injury another player.........I personally think they need to be looking at what happens on the field and when they get the game following the rules then look at the other things. Okay I feel better now that I have vented.

one of the best post I have ever read! Thanks!

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to golfin_blondie:

During my time at Tennessee I was a hostness and my daughter is currently a hostness at MS State and I will assure you I nor she has done anything against any rule. I would go as far as to say most do not. I do know that every organization, every business, every family, every whatever has those who do not follow the rules and it makes life hard on everyone. Please everyone let this play out before any judgments are made. I cannot say it didn't happen......I cannot say it did....I was not there. It just surprises me they are picking at the small details off the field and not addressing the bigger issues especially on the field. Case in point....bad calls determining outcome of the games.....players trying to physcially injury another player.........I personally think they need to be looking at what happens on the field and when they get the game following the rules then look at the other things. Okay I feel better now that I have vented.

What's a hostness?

99gator writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL

you need a "larry the cable guy" on that one.

lord, i apologize....

99gator writes:

in response to V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO:

What's a hostness?

don't know.

but, apparently, they have them at tennessee and mississippi state.

vol94 writes:

in response to grvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your comment was irresponsible and ridiculous.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to golfin_blondie:

During my time at Tennessee I was a hostness and my daughter is currently a hostness at MS State and I will assure you I nor she has done anything against any rule. I would go as far as to say most do not. I do know that every organization, every business, every family, every whatever has those who do not follow the rules and it makes life hard on everyone. Please everyone let this play out before any judgments are made. I cannot say it didn't happen......I cannot say it did....I was not there. It just surprises me they are picking at the small details off the field and not addressing the bigger issues especially on the field. Case in point....bad calls determining outcome of the games.....players trying to physcially injury another player.........I personally think they need to be looking at what happens on the field and when they get the game following the rules then look at the other things. Okay I feel better now that I have vented.

Wow. Nice post, especially the perspective on referees deciding games. What good is an assist getting a recruit when a SEC-paid referee can kill Arkansas' chances of beating Florida by throwing a flag?

vol94 writes:

in response to V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO:

What's a hostness?

You are an IDIOT!!

99gator writes:

the only question in all this is did the university or its employee pay members of the orange pride to travel to some of these locations.

and even if the answer is yes.....i have no idea what the punishment for that is.

maybe someone else knows.

but, yes, unless more details that are unknown come out.....this story is being treated like tennessee is running a prostitution ring to get recruits.

that's not right and i would be upset too.

South_Georgia_Vol writes:

Seems like CLK and boys got some people scared..Nothing will come of this! Go Vols!!

pammyvol1000 writes:

All the schools do it.. what's the deal here? I just hope we don't lose any recruits.

798orange writes:

This story smells a little weird. Why was the NY Times the first to report this instead of a southern or local paper? Why is it timed near the height of recruiting season? Who originated all of this and what was their motivation? The source itself might say plenty. You would think we would know the rules since the hostesses have been around for years here.

dvhill100 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WD, you are just wrong. I worry about you. :)

Hounddog writes:

This too shall pass.

Let's paly footbal (DEC. 31) Hounddog

Witch Doctor, are you staying?

516milesfromUT writes:

in response to AllVol2008#1353998:

So, again, what's the big deal, except trying to gouge UT?

OMG!!!!! are you saying that Spikes is behind all of this, all this GOUGING??? i think the orange pride group needs safety glasses....

rockytopatl writes:

in response to 99gator:

the only question in all this is did the university or its employee pay members of the orange pride to travel to some of these locations.

and even if the answer is yes.....i have no idea what the punishment for that is.

maybe someone else knows.

but, yes, unless more details that are unknown come out.....this story is being treated like tennessee is running a prostitution ring to get recruits.

that's not right and i would be upset too.

99, I'm glad to see somebody on this site understands the story and the issues involved. How in the name of Neyland could anybody twist this sorry affair into an wide-eyed indictment of SEC officiating that then draws praise from others??

Glory be, is there an IQ over room temperature in here anywhere?

golfballs03 writes:

in response to pammyvol1000:

All the schools do it.. what's the deal here? I just hope we don't lose any recruits.

apparently Brandon Willis - who was grilled by the NCAA in this - is now saying he rushed into committing and is going to take other visits

798orange writes:

in response to sampears:

one of the best post I have ever read! Thanks!

This smells a little strange. Why was the NY Times the first to report this instead of a southern or local paper? Who originated all of this and what was their motivation? The source itself might say plenty.

BigDaddyVol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funniest thing I've read on here in a while. Thanks.

golfballs03 writes:

in response to 798orange:

This story smells a little weird. Why was the NY Times the first to report this instead of a southern or local paper? Why is it timed near the height of recruiting season? Who originated all of this and what was their motivation? The source itself might say plenty. You would think we would know the rules since the hostesses have been around for years here.

Exactly! The program has been well publicized for a long time. A lot of other school too. Why are they all of a sudden coming in now and making this a big deal? If this is the headline of the wide-ranging investigation, then I think it's all a load of phooey. They are just head hunting.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You kill me Doc!
Serious though..Hope this blows over soon.
You know me..I wish the best for the program...GBO.

516milesfromUT writes:

i still think spikes is leading this probe! i think he has a finger or two to do with this!

Hounddog writes:

in response to 99gator:

the only question in all this is did the university or its employee pay members of the orange pride to travel to some of these locations.

and even if the answer is yes.....i have no idea what the punishment for that is.

maybe someone else knows.

but, yes, unless more details that are unknown come out.....this story is being treated like tennessee is running a prostitution ring to get recruits.

that's not right and i would be upset too.

99, you are a class act.

Let's play football. Hounddog

dvhill100 writes:

Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing

crimsonviper writes:

in response to 99gator:

the only question in all this is did the university or its employee pay members of the orange pride to travel to some of these locations.

and even if the answer is yes.....i have no idea what the punishment for that is.

maybe someone else knows.

but, yes, unless more details that are unknown come out.....this story is being treated like tennessee is running a prostitution ring to get recruits.

that's not right and i would be upset too.

Agree 99, 100%....outstanding post.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to hollowheadvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Secondary infractions are common on most all SEC schools. Some years there are more than others by the involved schools.. The secondary infractions on Vols this year should have no bearing on the present investigation, positive or negative...

orangekoolaid2 writes:

ESPN called us trailer Trash. I am starting to believe we are.

mlsoft#228820 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ummm -- don't believe I would have told that story <gg>.

mlsoft

shopsports#273141 writes:

Q&A With Shannon Sharpe »
Something Stinks In Pahokee
New York Times sports reporter Pete Thamel ”broke” the story of the NCAA’s investigation into Tennessee’s recruiting practices. After inititial investigation into this story, there seems to be a stink arising from little Pahokee, Fla., which drifts over to Gainesville and all the way north to a couple of offices in mid-town Manhattan.

The Players -

Pete Thamel – College sports reporter for the New York Times
Connor Ennis – Sports department staff editor, New York Times
Chris Dunkley – Pahokee football prospect being recruited by Tennessee and Florida
Ariel Alejo - Pahokee principal, Florida Alum, Huge Gators fan
Urban Meyer – Head coach, University of Florida
Lets start with a flashback to 1998. In the first game of Tennessee’s national championship run, the Vols narrowly defeated the Donovan McNabb led Syracuse Orangemen. A Tennessee loss looked eminent until a fourth down pass interference call allowed the Vols to move within range for a last second field goal for the win. The pass interference call led to a fervent outcry of referee bias by the Syracuse faithful. Conner Enis and Pete Thamel were both Syracuse students and writing for the Syracuse Post Standard and The Daily Orange at the time. Getting Interesting?

Thamel was at the forefront of reports on the recruitment of Bryce Brown, the heralded running back who eventually committed to Tennessee and was seen as a major coup for young head coach Lane Kiffin. It was a surprise when Brown was briefly declared ineligible by the NCAA roughly two weeks before the season began so they could investigate some reports they had gotten. Brown was eventually cleared to play. Pete Thamel has also witten so many gushing stories about the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow that it led one Gators blogger to refer to him as the “program’s most talented chronicler.” After Thamel’s prediction of a Gator blowout over Tennessee in this year’s contest didn’t come to fruition, he met with Meyer in his campus office the following morning. Here is the resulting article which blamed the lack of a blowout on the Flu and “Tennessee’s apparent lack of interest in actually winning the game” One thing is clear..Pete Thamel and Urban Meyer have a relationship.

shopsports#273141 writes:

The NYT article states that the NCAA has interviewed a handful of recruits regarding the investigation. The most interesting is Chris Dunkley. While the other players and/or their families were willing to talk about what they discussed with the NCAA and were generally complimentary of Tennesse, Dunkley refused. Dunkley happens to play for Pahokee High School. The same school whose principal, Ariel Alejo, tried to ban Tennessee coaches from recruiting his student-athletes. This was after Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin made statements to the press that he didn’t trust the way things were done in Pahokee regarding the recruiting process, insinuating that they tried to steer players towards Florida. Of note: Ariel Alejo is a Florida Alum that has a good relationship with Urban Meyer and is known to be a huge Gators’ fan.

Urban Meyer. With the verbal jabbing back and forth between Gainesville and Knoxville since Lane Kiffin was hired at Tennessee, it is apparent that the cocky Tennessee coach has gotten under his skin. It is also apparent that the Vols have been raiding the state of Florida of some of its best football prospects which had until lately been almost guaranteed locks for the Gators. Meyer has friends in the administration at Pahokee. He also has a more tight than common relationship with an investigative sports journalist at the New York Times. Motive and Means?

In an ominous sign of things to shortly come, and a possible inside joke between the two, Pete Thamel wrote this of Meyer just a week ago – “The most memorable moment from the news conference may have been when Meyer was asked about Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin’s assertion that Alabama is the better-coached team. Meyer smiled big and said, ‘No comment.’“

VolinCalif writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

99, I'm glad to see somebody on this site understands the story and the issues involved. How in the name of Neyland could anybody twist this sorry affair into an wide-eyed indictment of SEC officiating that then draws praise from others??

Glory be, is there an IQ over room temperature in here anywhere?

99 has always cut through the Sh.. and talked about issues correctly. Most don't care where he's from or who he supports as a Fan. But to your question about IQ and room temp.That depends on where the room is located. If it is in hades then probably not.

volsn3 writes:

I THINK THAT THIS IS SOMETHING TO KNOCK CLK AND HIS HIS STAFF OFF OF THE RECRUTING TRAIL....ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN....GO COACH....LEAVE EM SCRATCHING THEIR TAILS....I LOVE ALL THIS ATTENTION WE ARE GETTING...THE OTHERS ARE TOO STUPID TO SEE THAT DIGGING UP phooey ON US....TOP THREE IN RECRUITING WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE

golfin_blondie writes:

in response to sampears:

This says it all...

http://13psi.com/something-stinks-in-...

Thanks for the link. I agree this does say it all.......

winyah writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Secondary infractions are common on most all SEC schools. Some years there are more than others by the involved schools.. The secondary infractions on Vols this year should have no bearing on the present investigation, positive or negative...

prior secondary violations can be part of the equation, especially if the new infractions occured since the last report. a common remedy is to stop the recruitment of any individual that the hostesses influenced, which would be a serious blow to this year's recruiting class. i expect there are more than 6 recruits involved.

LaneTrain writes:

First off, is it still against UT rules for a hostess to date a football player? If so, then the now famous 'hostess' needs to quit dating Bryce Brown (yes pics are of the 'couple' above). Secondly, you need to take the pics of any hostesses off your stories because you are insinuating they are guilty of something. Do you know this is the same girl that went to the mentioned Byrnes game?

Second, since you cannot do research for yourself, it is an NCAA violation to travel to host. Thus, the name, HOST and it has been for at least 3 years. They really started cracking down on stuff like this around the Colorado scandal.

AtlantaTide writes:

in response to grvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice. Hope that made you feel better skippy.

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Was it the same way your "DADDY" assaulted you??

Bazz writes:

They've been around longer than Kiffin! Check this out. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vaul...

LaneTrain writes:

in response to hollowheadvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Practice? C'mon man, practice? We talking about practice?

I don't believe he was talking about football practice...but rather what they practice...

ETSU_Vol writes:

in response to hollowheadvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Come on man you have to read the context. He ment Tennessee's practices as in acts they involve themselves in. Just like if someone says they are a practicing Christian, Muslim, etc. Not actuall sports practices.... Sheesh... And I hate all this stuff. Why does everyone care so much that Tennessee is on it's way to relevance again?

volky writes:

in response to 798orange:

This story smells a little weird. Why was the NY Times the first to report this instead of a southern or local paper? Why is it timed near the height of recruiting season? Who originated all of this and what was their motivation? The source itself might say plenty. You would think we would know the rules since the hostesses have been around for years here.

The New York Times---All the News That's Fit To Print---what a joke! Apparently the NY Times considers a coed who travels 200 miles to see a high school football game in order to hold up a sign that says "Come to Tennessee" is more newsworthy than two climatology professors trying to bury evidence that does not support global warming. Something definitely stinks. No doubt CLK has chaffed the rear ends of a few competitor coaches, which would go a long way in explaining the timing of this story breaking

dowhatsright writes:

in response to V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO:

What's a hostness?

Haven't you ever had a typo? I have.

rabidvol1998 writes:

in response to sampears:

This says it all...

http://13psi.com/something-stinks-in-...

A must read. Good find.

rabidvol1998 writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No the trailer trash comment was about Vol fans reaction to Peyton not winning the H.......

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