Kiffin gets reprimand from SEC, apologizes to Florida after comments upset Gators

If Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin were trying to generate interest in his first recruiting class, he succeeded spectacularly Thursday morning. The interest extended way beyond the UT fans who gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center for a “recruiting celebration.”

Kiffin got a harsh response from the University of Florida and an official reprimand from the SEC office. By late Thursday afternoon, Kiffin had issued an apology for the remarks he made about Florida’s recruiting.

The same remarks produced the loudest applause of the morning from the crowd of nearly 1,000 fans.

“I’m going to turn Florida in right now in front of you,” Kiffin told his receptive audience. “Nu’Keese (Richardson) was here on campus (on his recruiting visit) and his phone kept ringing.

“One of our coaches said, ‘Nu’Keese, who’s that?’ He said, ‘Urban Meyer (Florida’s coach).’

“Just so you know, when a recruit is on another campus, you can’t call him. I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him (Richardson signed with UT after committing to the Gators).”

Florida didn’t take Kiffin’s comments lightly. It released a statement from athletic director Jeremy Foley on Thursday afternoon.

“There was no rule violation and we have confirmed this with the Southeastern Conference,” Foley’s statement read. “It is obvious that Coach Kiffin doesn’t know that there is not a rule precluding phone contact with a prospect during an official visit on another campus during a contact period.

“His allegations are inappropriate, out of line and, most importantly, totally false. It is completely unfair to Urban Meyer, our coaching staff, our football program and our institution. The appropriate action at this time in my opinion is for Coach Kiffin to make a apology.”

The SEC chimed in before Kiffin issued an apology.

“Coach Kiffin has violated the Southeastern Conference code of ethics,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in reprimanding Kiffin. “(The bylaw) clearly states that coaches and administrators shall refrain from directed public criticism of other member institutions, their staffs or players.

“The phone call to which Coach Kiffin referred to in his public comments is not a violation of SEC or NCAA rules. We expect our coaches to have an understanding and knowledge of conference and NCAA rules.”

Later in the day, Kiffin apologized.

“I’ve been made aware by the Southeastern Conference that my comments this morning at a breakfast with our donors violated a conference policy,” he said. “In my enthusiasm for our recruiting class, I made some statements that were meant solely to excite those at the breakfast.

“I apologize to commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC, including Florida AD Jeremy Foley and coach Urban Meyer. My comments were not intended to offend anyone at the University of Florida.”

Florida wasn’t Kiffin’s only target Thursday. He also took a dig at Alabama, which was No. 1 in the country this past season before losing to Florida in the SEC championship game.

“Nick Saban (Alabama’s coach) should have started his press conference (Wednesday) by saying, ‘Our great class that we signed ... I’d really like to thank Lance (Thompson) because Lance signed eight of those guys.’ ”

Thompson was an assistant coach and star recruiter for Saban before joining Kiffin’s new staff at UT. And he’s about as shy as his head coach.

“He ain’t getting any more of my (recruits),” Thompson said of Saban.

Thompson also compared UT’s recruiting in Memphis to Alabama’s recruiting in Mobile, Ala., before he arrived.

“Everybody said, ‘Auburn beats us in Mobile,’ ” Thompson said. “Y’all beat us anymore, Eddie (referring to former Auburn assistant coach Eddie Gran, who’s now on Kiffin’s staff).

“Y’all say the same thing about Memphis in Tennessee. We’re going to own Memphis.”

Kiffin and his assistants made it clear they don’t take the recruiting services’ evaluations of players as gospel. That set up Thompson for another Alabama shot.

“Just for your information, Utah had no five-stars (recruits), and they kicked the lining out of our tails,” said Thompson in reference to Alabama’s loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

The recruiting celebration didn’t end as the fans filed out of the Convention Center. In fact, it was just getting started.

Kiffin and his staff later addressed UT fans in Nashville and Memphis.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 518

SemperVol writes:

And Spurrier wasn't reprimanded? Slive, you make no sense.

mpm80#1357758 writes:

wow

billsatter#588212 writes:

How many versions of this story is KNS going to put out? We know all of this info. Is there some other agenda?

andy112382#209793 writes:

Gotta love the intensity and energy from this new staff.

Yea, I agree sempervol, Spurrier must be imune to the rules.

born2ride writes:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Lofton4Three writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

You are an idiot.

olozbal#646632 writes:

I love the fire, but as a fellow guy in his early thirties, sometimes I get in trouble when I get fired up and there are cameras on. Chill out a little Lane. Let your minions do that stuff. You can be above it all. This is a bigger job than the Raiders believe it or not.

Ahh screw it. Who cares if we gave them bulletin board material and they try and run it up. Beats the hell out of not even being in the conversation. I'd rather be known for this than we were last year (a dying program).

Go Vols.

rockytopman writes:

It's been a long while since we as fans have had this much to be excited about. Fulmer and his staff were always on the receiving end of the jokes...now the shoe's on the other foot and it is SO AWESOME. Keep up the good work Coach Kiff and staff. You are making the Vol Nation proud again.

DekanGator writes:

You just pulled on Superman's Cape
Ask Mark Richt what happens when you do that !

12packvolfan writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

THAT WILL GET MORE RECRUITS KIFFIN U R THE MAN

trentknox#416005 writes:

Born2Ride, are u a Florida fan. Did you ever think Lane was trying to get some pulicity to UT? And guess what, it worked! ESPN was all over it and from what I heard from the PTI guys, they LOVE it. It sure is a nice change from Fulmer being quiet all the time.

I bet when a kid screws up Lane wont be clapping and saying good job like one Phillip Fulmer did. BRING ON THE DISCPLINE LANE!! No hat wearing on campus, no ipods in classroom, no more wearing earrings on campus and no more atta boys when you screw up. GOTTA LOVE IT!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

From a Bamer at the time, "They kicked the lining out of our tails".

Priceless.

wagee12 writes:

born2ride writes:
So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Hey Bird Dog nice post. I haven't had this much fun on signing day and the following 24 hours in years and years. We ain't running scared from Meyer anymore, sorry if that causes you to choke on your Gerber's strained green beans. Hey, maybe you ought to file suit on behalf of C.U.Meyer You obviously have no clue how high the threshold is for slander. Sorry, as of yesterday and today, There is no more whining in Tennessee Football. This football program is officially on the road to recovery and many of us fully intend on enjoying the ride!

utvols1 writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

dude, your the fool with your anti UT comments. Either support the staff and school or leave. Fulmer is gone-get over it or leave with him.

RJ_Vol writes:

Does anyone remember a coach calling out UT during the offseason? On fourth and ten, that coach went for it...not with a dive or sneak, but with a post route into the endzone for a TD. UT hated Spurrier in the 90's as much as any coach in the country. The team usually played its worse game against the Gators, because he had already beaten them mentally. I just can't seem to figure out what Coach Kiffin is trying to do...yeah, right! Go Big Orange!

wagee12 writes:

gator4life writes:
Scotty,
If UT doesn't have any committments yet, they trail the NATIONAL CHAMPIONS yet again. As of yesterday, UF has 4 ESPN Top 150 players committed for next years class. UF also held their first Junior Day last weekend while you guys were working on stealing our nukee :-)

Haw, haw, Gator, got to give it to you, the post of the day perhaps. That's that danged ex Barner coach that stole your Nukee. Hey, we do have one commit, a Tom Lemming first team All-American this year and projected to be a top 25 player in the next signing class. Guess we'll just have to try and play catch up!!!

calvolfromkingsport writes:

ROTFLMAO, this is sooo funny. Nothing like a little swaggering, no matter how misguided. Funny as heck. Keep it coming. Amazing how thin skinned the lizards are!

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Ride this.

easleychuck writes:

I sure hope they don't go and put Coach K on double-secret probation or anything.

I like to think that he violated the spirit of a guideline, moreso than breaking an actual rule.

H*ll, he probably had his fingers crossed behind his back when he had to fess up.

At the end of the day, mullets have been hating on our ex-coach for being honest for years, what does that say about them?

Roach lizards have enjoyed mocking our ex-coach's weight for years, so very funny.

Bad news boys, the coach we have now is not going to go quietly into the night, I would expect that post game hand shakes will never be quite the same again in the conference. And when, he gets the program back to man level it is going to get a little bumpy for the current ruling class in the league.

In case, you roach lizards, mullets and Chickens didn't get the memo, there is a new sheriff in K-Town.

He may lose for awhile but you will surely know he is in the league and building a large can of whoop a** in lovely East Tenn.

Your days of rolling in being rude and taking over our stadium are coming to an end. Get some.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

for all the noble's out there that think of building young men and such...remember one thing. We're paying this cat to win ballgames and entertain us....he has the latter down pretty good so far.

khelton657 writes:

Man, ya gotta love this guy and all his people who act just like him..apparently he is not intimadated by anyone, just as it should be...to heck with being PC, call it the way it is and kick butt

smashmouth98 writes:

I love it!! Bring back some swagger to the VOLS!!! Awesome, and recruits love it as well.

sameolvolalum writes:

'Fact is, Clive is Urban's butt boy and has quite a crush on Saban, too. Who's to doubt that if Meyer had said the same things about ANYBODY ELSE in the SEC, Clive would've let it go. 'Just like Spurrier started all that bogus garbage about Kiffin............Clive clammed up. Look how he allowed all that phooey about Fulmer's mess with those 'bama jerks at the SEC media session last fall. Clive's anti-UT and there's no doubt about it. That dude's got no friends in Knoxville.

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

I love it. Fat Phil was afraid of the Gators -- if we lose in the Swamp by 100 points next year -- Kif will have them fired up for K-town in 2010.

This guy takes no phooey -- he's making sure Berry is going to class, he's thrown recruits off the list (DJ Hunter, etc.),

Urban Cryer is a cheater anyway - post Tebow he'll stink

http://blogs.sltrib.com/utes/2008/01/...

theoldbear writes:

I have changed my mind. It will be 3-9 in 2009, not 4-8 as I had thought.

And will somebody please tell Lane and Monte that you can't trade a draft choice for a quarterback in college football?

Get used to it folks, this is just the first embarassment this staff will inflict upon UT.

LittleJohnny writes:

in response to gator4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for the info Gator. Just 4 more ex-Gator commits we need to get next year on National Signing Day when it counts.

Smallmike4pres writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Screw you dumba$s. Who cares what the rule really is. He is not going to take FL & Al sh*t anymore & that kind of attitude will rub off on this team.

jimr07 writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

One thing for sure is this; they ain't gonna bring your guy fulmer back. appreciate the support you give your university.

doctorvol#211700 writes:

if calling a recruit while on an official elsewhere isn't against the rules, it certainly is not right. shouldn't screw with these kids to that degree (although some certainly screw with the schools).

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to Scotty_Hopson32:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

unless i missed something even at this late date were not on his list of schools interested in.

these kids who dont sign on signing day are just trying to milk other schools for more free trips and fancy steak dinners/good eating

why we want to waste more money on those who havent expressed any "legitimate" interest and just want to use us

maybe its worth a shot but dont like being used--save that money to recruit other prospects that are more likely vols---JMO

jimr07 writes:

in response to theoldbear:

I have changed my mind. It will be 3-9 in 2009, not 4-8 as I had thought.

And will somebody please tell Lane and Monte that you can't trade a draft choice for a quarterback in college football?

Get used to it folks, this is just the first embarassment this staff will inflict upon UT.

no, you are the first emabrassment. have a nice day.

khelton657 writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Man, do you walk around with your head down, shoulders stooped and constantly afraid you might offend someone ?

I'm glad Kiffen is not intimidated by the Meyer's and Saban's of the world.

drone#208075 writes:

I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Seems CLK is illustrating a few points of contention with the process that just ended and laying the ground work for how it's going to be from now on. I guess UM, SS & NS can say whatever they want in the privacy of a young man's home. What about NS telling recruits they can't visit. Seems like intimidation and an ethics violation.

jokico1199 writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

Yeah sure..u make a lot of sense...bout time our coach(s) grow some peanuts and stop taking phooey from other folks all the time..It's called letting the SEC know that UT is here and we are gonna get better and when u play us you better pack 2 or 3 more mouth pieces cause we are goona bust your fronts.....
u might want to pick a new sport..say grass growing, no brains required...UR IN...go floss ur toof..GO VOLS

Orange_Rush writes:

in response to gator4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They have 4 ESPN 150 WATCH list players, which means absolutely nothing a year out.

RJ_Vol writes:

Hey Urban.........Goosefraba!

senracjr writes:

Aw,he hurt their widdle feelings.

volnation200973 writes:

I have been sold on CLK from day one. He just has an edge about him that I absolutely love. I have just as much respect for Coach Fulmer now as I did when he was the head honcho in K-Town but the one knock I have always had against him was that he never really had that visible fire. The difference between Coach Kiffin and Fulmer is just what I stated the FIRE. I remember getting chills all down my spine when CLK said this quote at his opening press conference. "Im looking forward to experiencing the traditions. Like the Vol Walk, running through the T, and singing Rocky Top all night long when we beat Florida." That was when I was 100% sold on Coach Kiffin. I have a good feeling that good days are on the horizon and that we TRUE VOL fans are in for a treat with this coaching staff. I would like to welcome the new recruits to Big Orange Country and I can't wait to see them have success on the field. Thank You to the Coaching Staff for generating renewed excitment to the Vol Nation. I always am excited for the start of football season because Vol football means alot to me but I have never been this excited before.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!God Bless you all!!!!!!!!!
volnation200973

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

'Fact is, Clive is Urban's butt boy and has quite a crush on Saban, too. Who's to doubt that if Meyer had said the same things about ANYBODY ELSE in the SEC, Clive would've let it go. 'Just like Spurrier started all that bogus garbage about Kiffin............Clive clammed up. Look how he allowed all that phooey about Fulmer's mess with those 'bama jerks at the SEC media session last fall. Clive's anti-UT and there's no doubt about it. That dude's got no friends in Knoxville.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

uahvol75 writes:

I dont know if yall noticed or not, but 22 of the top prospects in the 2010 class are from the great state of Tennessee..Here's to building the fence and recruiting 2010!! Its On!! Its sad, i know im an addict..

khelton657 writes:

in response to 19SEP2009:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go back to your hole ,Dirtball, Kiffin is going ro rake it to you. Maybe not this yeear maybe not next year..you are in our sights.

therazbo writes:

they must be scared why else would they be checking out our recruting party???

senracjr writes:

in response to theoldbear:

I have changed my mind. It will be 3-9 in 2009, not 4-8 as I had thought.

And will somebody please tell Lane and Monte that you can't trade a draft choice for a quarterback in college football?

Get used to it folks, this is just the first embarassment this staff will inflict upon UT.

You are an IDIOT

Blue_VOL18 writes:

Bryce Brown is down to Miami and Oregon, just for the record.........

senracjr writes:

in response to gator4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good ole boys don't like Idiots with mullets and jorts.

philfan writes:

in response to born2ride:

So UT fires Phil Fulmer who won a national championship and replaces him with a kid who does not have any college head coaching experience and who does not even know the rules???

Before Kiffin accuses a coach of cheating he should at least know if it is cheating or not. Kiffin and UT look like fools.

It would not surprise me to see some recruits decommit from UT. Urban Meyer should sue Kiffin for slander. I have never seen a coach look so stupid as Kiffin today.

Hiring Kiffin was a mistake. I give this him 1 to 2 years before he is gone. What a way to ruin recruiting day!

I told everyone that Kiffin had little experience working with college kids, and now we know he has no class. Fulmer would never have done something this stupid and redneck. Kiffin must have learned his manners from Ed Orgeron. For more information, go to this web site:

http://www.secsportsfan.com/ed-orgero...

Do not venture here unless you truly want to know where Tennessee is headed with all this adolescent bravado.

tnlizard writes:

in response to theoldbear:

I have changed my mind. It will be 3-9 in 2009, not 4-8 as I had thought.

And will somebody please tell Lane and Monte that you can't trade a draft choice for a quarterback in college football?

Get used to it folks, this is just the first embarassment this staff will inflict upon UT.

Most of the rogue gator (small font intended) and buck fama fans are an embarrassment to the SEC.

VolsFan3390 writes:

WOW i hate THE FLORIDA GatorS. who cares if kiffin was wrong on blaming Urban Meyer, that was still an a55hole move by Urban for trying to have contact with him when he knows that he is visiting Tennessee, and for all the Gator bloggers on here sayin that mabey urban didnt know he was visiting UT, your wrong!! Most coaches that really want a player know where they are at all times and what other schools they vist....SO CONGRATS TO URBAN MEYER WINNING THE SEC A55HOLE COACH AWARD...take a bow...OH!!! even though NICK SABAN wasnt in this post he still wins the D!ckHEAD COACH AWARD with LES MILES FINSHING A CLOSE SECOND!!
HAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHA
GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!

Blue_VOL18 writes:

We won't beat florida as long as tebow is there, but when he and spikes graduate...florida is in trouble

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