Tennessee is reporting another secondary violation involving its football program.
During a radio interview Friday morning, UT coach Lane Kiffin ran afoul of an NCAA rule when he mentioned recruit Bryce Brown by name and called the highly recruited running back “a great player.”
Kiffin’s comment came in response to a question — during which it was noted that coaches can’t talk about individual players — about the recent trend of players waiting to sign a letter of intent until well after National Signing Day.
“Once very talented players do things, it becomes the cool thing to do and so the next guy does it and more and more guys do it,” Kiffin said on The Sports Page. “I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see ... great players like Bryce Brown are doing it now. So now it’s going to be more next year and then more and more.”
NCAA rules prohibit a coach from commenting “generally about (a) student-athlete’s ability” before the prospect has signed a letter of intent. It is unclear whether the violation occurred because Kiffin mentioned Brown by name or because he referred to Brown as a “great player.”
Either way, coaches are not permitted under NCAA rules to speak about specific unsigned prospects other than to confirm that they are recruiting the athlete.
UT’s compliance office reviewed Kiffin’s comments Friday afternoon, and it will submit a report to the SEC and NCAA, UT spokeswoman Tiffany Carpenter said.
The violation does not affect the eligibility of Brown, Rivals.com’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2009, nor should it affect UT’s ability to continue recruiting Brown.
Brown, a running back from Wichita, Kan., is already in Knoxville on an official visit. Despite being committed to Miami, Brown has not signed a letter of intent and is expected to take one more official visit.
Friday’s violation will be the third self-report involving the football program during Kiffin’s 10-week tenure. All three are considered secondary and likely will not result in any punishment from either the SEC or NCAA.
UT submitted two secondary violations last month, both for impermissible game day simulations while hosting recruits on official visits. Those two issues have already been resolved, and UT issued letters of admonishment to the coaches involved and provided further training on rules regarding official visits.