UT looking into former coaches' contact with UT commitments

With a whirlwind football coaching search behind them, officials at the University of Tennessee are preparing to investigate the staff that bolted for Southern California last week.

Specifically, athletic director Mike Hamilton is concerned with contact that former UT coaches might have had with the Vols’ committed and enrolled prospects, as well as contact those coaches, who are now at Southern California, may have had with personnel still employed by the athletic department.

“We are looking into it and if there is action to be taken, certainly we will,” Hamilton said via text message Monday. “At this point, anything else would be speculative.”

Current employees of the athletic department will be scrutinized. Hamilton said phone records and e-mail will be checked to see if any employees transferred recruiting material to USC, specifically to former UT recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron after he left Knoxville for Southern California.

Orgeron brought a handful of former employees at other schools to join him at UT as football support staff when he joined Lane Kiffin’s staff in January 2009.

The News Sentinel reported last week that Orgeron called an employee of UT’s football department to obtain recruiting materials and became irate when he was denied access to those files.

Orgeron admitted to several media outlets that he had contact with UT prospects as a USC representative, but maintained he only returned phone calls from prospects’ families which were inquiring about their options.

Former UT commitment Brandon Willis’ family contradicted that claim. They told multiple media outlets that Orgeron was the first to make contact. Willis had planned to enroll at UT last week but decided against it and enrolled at North Carolina instead.

“I thought it was very unprofessional and unethical,” Hamilton said on the News Sentinel’s radio show, The Sports Page, when asked the Orgeron situation.

Hamilton said he is “not yet” sure how many prospects were contacted by Orgeron.

While there is no NCAA rule forbidding such contact, there are rules limiting the number of times a coach can call a prospect. If it can be proved that Orgeron broke those rules, he could face disciplinary action from the NCAA.

Hamilton had no qualms about helping the NCAA investigate the matter.

“We’re absolutely going to cooperate with that,” Hamilton said. “If we feel like there is a reason to talk to the NCAA about things that might have happened, we’ll do that as well.”

Hamilton reaffirmed that UT officials have no intention of releasing the Vols’ eight mid-term enrollees to play elsewhere without sitting out a season of competition, per NCAA rules.

“We’ve always said we don’t provide releases and that’s where we stand today,” Hamilton said. “I think the coach needs to come in and have conversations with the guys. The good news is they’re (mid-term enrollees) all back. They’re all here and I think they’re excited about being here.”

Offensive line prospect JaWuan James and defensive end prospect Jacques Smith returned home last week. James returned to campus on Saturday. Smith has said he also will return to enroll for the spring semester.

Hamilton also offered his thoughts on whether a prospect commits to a school or a coach, a frequent debate in recruiting circles.

“I’m a realist and know that a large part of it is the coach,” he said. “Hopefully, the institution has to be a part of it or we’re not recruiting in the right way.”

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Comments » 118

scvols writes:

It was just wrong.....

YORVOL writes:

If they've done anything wrong, then let the NCAA nail them. If not let's let it go we are rid of the scum.

bmiller#222442 writes:

Oh what a tangled web we weave......

kevin151 writes:

And Tell Grandpa Monte to give his Bonus back. His idiot of a son will ruin his reputation. You can't make up for lost time with your son Monte.

scott_m99 writes:

I hope this internal investigation turns up as mush as possible against orgeron. I also hope that if any rules were broken, that the ncaa comes down hard on those clowns at USC

vol94 writes:

Play with fire and you get burnt, and we definitely got burnt by Kiffin and company. I guarantee you O was givin information by UT personnel the day it all went down with USC.

I just hope we can salvage a top 10 class but doubtful as work is Ambles will decommit tonight or tomorrow.

Mule_Days_King writes:

Storms are on the horizon for The Punk and The Ogre: Tropical Storm Probation and Tropical Storm TMZ.

GC23Vol writes:

Drop the hammer on em hammy!

TSNVol writes:

Cut off the head of the snake!

justincredible369#357762 writes:

Tak about some seedy characters. Being totally honest, I was absolutely blindsided by all of this. I would say I drank the Kiffin Koolaide but it was more like I snorted his pixie stick. I learned a great lesson about football and life with these scum bags. However i will be ALL VOL ALL THE TIME. GO DOOLEY! I bet Hammy puts a choke chain on this guy!

psvol69 writes:

Well even if nothing comes of it by way of the NCAA, we reap what we sow !!!! Karma is a b--t-h !

RoyaltyVol writes:

Coach O will never be a head coach again I believe, who would want him? He represents the worst of the worst in college football

vol94 writes:

in response to kevin151:

And Tell Grandpa Monte to give his Bonus back. His idiot of a son will ruin his reputation. You can't make up for lost time with your son Monte.

Yeah, I find that a disgrace that he took the bonus and left. I guess he thinks he is owed something which I disagree with totally.

The former staff brought a buzz to town that was needed and a top 10 class with Bryce Brown. However, two of those freshmen are no longer on the team. This year's class was ranked 6 or 7 with a couple of prospects on the fence before they left.

We had a 7-6 record with a horrible loss to UCLA and the Auburn game was a disappointment. GA was down this year and we blew them away. VA Tech proved we were/are far from a top 15 team.
So besides the excitement they brought, what are we losing? I wasn't blown away with their coaching abilities on the field, but think one year was not enough to judge the staff.

I will agree we are now another two years behind due to recruting. We didn't address the QB need (maybe Bray)
nor the O-line need while Kiffin was here. He didn't many O-lineman for this year's class which we need desperately. I don't know if I agree or not, but the sports animal in Knoxville said 2013 or 2014 will be the first year we will compete for the SEC as LSU, BAMA, GA, Fl, and Auburn all had top 10 classes and will continue to do so.

KSargent writes:

I saw a post somewhere that Monte mentioned a recruit by name on a radio program in Knoxville. Is this true?

vol94 writes:

in response to vol94:

Play with fire and you get burnt, and we definitely got burnt by Kiffin and company. I guarantee you O was givin information by UT personnel the day it all went down with USC.

I just hope we can salvage a top 10 class but doubtful as work is Ambles will decommit tonight or tomorrow.

Meant to say "as word is.."

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to vol94:

Play with fire and you get burnt, and we definitely got burnt by Kiffin and company. I guarantee you O was givin information by UT personnel the day it all went down with USC.

I just hope we can salvage a top 10 class but doubtful as work is Ambles will decommit tonight or tomorrow.

So what, so what, so what? If the kid wanted to come here because of Kiffin, let him (and any others) go. Talent is talent, I get it, but you can't make a horse drink by leading him to water. If they have wandering eyes, they would never be the kind of player we need. I'll bet for next year, the "Saban" rule for recruiting will be in place. If you commit to us, no more visits. If you visit after you commit, you are no longer welcome. He sure hasn't had any problem with the wishy-washy commits who keep us on the Rivals/Scout websites every day. Ambles and company should go where they want but if they think Kiffin was the answer, they are asking the wrong questions for our new staff/team. Go Vols!!!

JimHalpert writes:

If he was this dirty on the way out, who's to say he will not sell us out if he gets punished. Let slobbering, chasing the bigger food bowl dogs lie.

psvol69 writes:

I really hope USC gets a good dose of reality of waht low-down classless coaches they have let come to them. I think before Kiffin and staff is done they will have gotten caught for NCAA violations and USC will be seriously slapped !!!
In the long haul here UT FOOTBALL will be better off and will be kept out of trouble. I figure that if he was commiitting so many secondary violations then it was just a matter of time before committing major ones or getting caught committing them and our school would be damaged ALOT mroe by the the penalties than just waht we are having to deal with right now......

vol94 writes:

in response to KSargent:

I saw a post somewhere that Monte mentioned a recruit by name on a radio program in Knoxville. Is this true?

Yes, but Kiffin said MOnte was no longer a UT coach and had not signed and agreement with USC so ........... What a crock!

87UTVOL writes:

An interesting story here:

http://www.bittenandbound.com/2010/01...

If you see TMZ around K'Town, make sure and point them in the right direction. Here's hoping Lane has some Tiger babes around who love the attention of the media.

Cheatin' on Layla. Liar Lane.

UTATO93 writes:

My thought as an attorney is that if Monte has not been paid his "retention" bonus that he has "earned", then I say make him sue to get it.

Same for Reaves and Cregg if they were fired. I gurantee there is some conduct by these guys that would be grounds to terminate their contracts.

They would have to sue in Knox County and UT could ask for a jury trial. Now that would be fun. UT could then expose all the things that happened as Kiffin was exiting the building.

If they want their money then come and get it!

Volsrbest writes:

If they violated any NCAA policies or procedures then they should be punished. If not, it's part of the game and we need to move on and not look back. We need to build this program back to full strength and I'd love our first BCS opportunity to be against USC! Wouldn't that be sweet! What BCS Bowl (other than National Championship) would turn down that opportunity?

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to vol94:

Play with fire and you get burnt, and we definitely got burnt by Kiffin and company. I guarantee you O was givin information by UT personnel the day it all went down with USC.

I just hope we can salvage a top 10 class but doubtful as work is Ambles will decommit tonight or tomorrow.

I thought that Ambles was still committed to the Vols as of yesterday. GerryOp had posted recruiting info that included a statement that Ambles' dad had made that said he was still committied to the Vols. Apparently, that has changed since yesterday. Ambles needs to make up his mind and decide what he wants to do..Either he wants to be here or he doesn't.

Vol86 writes:

I admit I got on the train with the scum(poophead and co.). CDD should be fine. Leeson learned: support UT not the phooey that may run it from time to time. Good luck to the kids that come.

papabearmaples writes:

I went on the NCAA web site and filed a complaint (via e-mail) of my own against Ed O. It was easy and I got a response the same day. We all should flood the NCAA office with complaints cause you known that Lane and Ed are both guilty of tampering, and so is USC's Mike Garret. This whole things stinks and needs to be investigated.

RoyaltyVol writes:

As prideful as Kiffin is its just a matter of time. The Bible says pride goeth before a fall, and there is a big fall coming I believe. Now he will be living in LA, one of the sin capitals of the world. He might have a few good years at USC, but one day he will be fired from USC I believe, then if he is lucky, maybe he could be coach at LA Tech. Wouldnt that be funny?

psvol69 writes:

Well getting the recruits to get here to UT is a huge thing and that has to be something that this coaching staff has to be able to do however that is JUST BEGINING. These guys have to be able to coach the highly rated recruits or it means nothing. I do hope this staff can REALLY COACH UP these players.
BTW ANYONE HERE KNOW WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR TURNING J.CROMPTON AROUND LIKE HE DID ?????

chaos001 writes:

Nail their sorry butts to the wall!!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Talkin_Reality:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ok, Voice. You can change names but you can't change the fact you are a moron.

Ayres_Hall writes:

The Gimp (Oregeron) is a multiple-time looser in life and UT gave him a new start. And this is what we get in return? The book Meat Market details his issues with alcohol and young girls leading to career failures and marriage failures.

gillblog writes:

Seems to me the NCAA needs to stand up and take notice of this kind of situation in a strategic response, not just a reactionary investigation. They need to design some kind of enforcable regulation about coaches breaking contracts and precipitously leaving a university. I know very little about contract law but I think since this is NCAA's product and right now the product looks very bad to the public as well as inflicting wide-ranging hardship on the athletes themselves, there needs to be a formal process laid out for these changes to work more equitably.
The NCAA has made categorical rules for students making changes, why not the coaches? Right now, those guys are riding the backs of young, impressionable athletes to garner hugh amounts of money and benefits.
One suggestion; if a coach leaves a university the way Kiffin left UT, and he chooses to 'take' recruits with him, he has to give up the same number of scholarships for his new team. Seems only fair.

charles57#1378642 writes:

Never, ever trust a man who won't look at you when he talks. lane kiffin always looked at any and everything but the person he was talking to.
Scum is a mild word to describe him!

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to psvol69:

Well getting the recruits to get here to UT is a huge thing and that has to be something that this coaching staff has to be able to do however that is JUST BEGINING. These guys have to be able to coach the highly rated recruits or it means nothing. I do hope this staff can REALLY COACH UP these players.
BTW ANYONE HERE KNOW WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR TURNING J.CROMPTON AROUND LIKE HE DID ?????

Word is group effort between Kiffin, Chaney, and Reaves. Chaney I believe from his former work in NFL and Purdue. The other two I just can't say.

wiscvolfan writes:

This could open a can of worms that we do not need or want right now. Do any of you really think that Lame and his band of losers were following the rules while they were in Knoxville? I think they have more than proven their willingness to bend, break, and piss all over any rules that they don't like. Any investigation of what they did on the way out of town is not going to stop there and anything they find previous to that could hurt the Vols in the long run. I say we should move on to better things (like Coach Dooley) and let karma take care of the rest.

winbigvols14 writes:

Orgeron is nothing more than a mercenary and a bully. Monte is no better than his little son. Sometimes when you lay down with dogs you get fleas. Thats what we did. Lets just hope that Coach Dooley can salvage something from this recruiting class and we are not set back another 2 years because of the 3 clowns that left.

psvol69 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Word is group effort between Kiffin, Chaney, and Reaves. Chaney I believe from his former work in NFL and Purdue. The other two I just can't say.

Well I hope it was Cheney mostly responsible for it. J.C. did an amazing turn around in half a season. I thought I would never say this but I wish he was coming back this year to see if he continued to improve... The way he was playing the last half if the season then we could win games with him. He ended up being 4th in nation in passing TDs. WHO WOULD EVER THOUGHT THAT LOL...
I think Cheney will be a good asset to this staff I really hope D.D keeps him after this year and isnt just keep him and the few others on as just a stabilizer for recruiting...

rockytopatl writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I thought that Ambles was still committed to the Vols as of yesterday. GerryOp had posted recruiting info that included a statement that Ambles' dad had made that said he was still committied to the Vols. Apparently, that has changed since yesterday. Ambles needs to make up his mind and decide what he wants to do..Either he wants to be here or he doesn't.

Many of them won't make up their minds until NSD. Dooley must just keep working them and reminding them of all the good things we have in Knoxville, especially that big stadium by the river.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to gillblog:

Seems to me the NCAA needs to stand up and take notice of this kind of situation in a strategic response, not just a reactionary investigation. They need to design some kind of enforcable regulation about coaches breaking contracts and precipitously leaving a university. I know very little about contract law but I think since this is NCAA's product and right now the product looks very bad to the public as well as inflicting wide-ranging hardship on the athletes themselves, there needs to be a formal process laid out for these changes to work more equitably.
The NCAA has made categorical rules for students making changes, why not the coaches? Right now, those guys are riding the backs of young, impressionable athletes to garner hugh amounts of money and benefits.
One suggestion; if a coach leaves a university the way Kiffin left UT, and he chooses to 'take' recruits with him, he has to give up the same number of scholarships for his new team. Seems only fair.

Here's a similar thought but on the recruiting side as this was the main effect of Kiffin's (and numerous other sudden departures): Push back national signing day, perhaps to the first Tuesday in March, not Feb. That way if a coach bolts in the manner of Kiffin or whomever, there would be a better opportunity for a university to withstand the effects of the departure. Just a thought.
Agree with your notion on coaches, but a college coach's contract basically isn't worth the paper it's written on. Not sure what if anything could be done.

bearcat14 writes:

as a (55 year) ole miss person, with strong UT connections i want to throw in my thoughts:
ed orgeron is the worst that college football has to offer. i am still angry that we (ole miss) fired david cutcliffe and ever got ourselves involved with orgeron. UT is way better off with him gone.
i have a good feeling about dooley. he understands the SEC ... he understands UT's place in the college football world.
the day of: General Neyland/UT ... Johnny Vaught/Ole Miss ... the Bear/Alabama ... Shug Jourdan/Auburn are gone ... ... and, D. Dooley is as good a bet, going in, as there is. i expect to be seeing him on the UT sidelines ten and more years from now.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Ok, Voice. You can change names but you can't change the fact you are a moron.

I knew who that was when I read the comment. He/she can't hide that easly from us.

ORNGFACTOR writes:

in response to gillblog:

Seems to me the NCAA needs to stand up and take notice of this kind of situation in a strategic response, not just a reactionary investigation. They need to design some kind of enforcable regulation about coaches breaking contracts and precipitously leaving a university. I know very little about contract law but I think since this is NCAA's product and right now the product looks very bad to the public as well as inflicting wide-ranging hardship on the athletes themselves, there needs to be a formal process laid out for these changes to work more equitably.
The NCAA has made categorical rules for students making changes, why not the coaches? Right now, those guys are riding the backs of young, impressionable athletes to garner hugh amounts of money and benefits.
One suggestion; if a coach leaves a university the way Kiffin left UT, and he chooses to 'take' recruits with him, he has to give up the same number of scholarships for his new team. Seems only fair.

I completely agree.

With regards to recruiting violations, those should follow the coach and the coach should be penalized.

If it was a university infraction, then the university should be sanctioned.

In this case, Orgeron should be penalized and the penalty should be something that limits contact or no contact with recruits for a set period of time. Thats just a suggestion but it would help clean up a lot of scandals revolving around shady deal making.

I can understand how these young men who are very talented could be confused when they have an understanding of the rules and then a coach comes along and says something different OR in this case a coach sells them something and then midstream has to sell something else.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I nominate this be the last "I told you so" post. We get it. Many of us put on blinders. You were right.
Let's get behind Coach Dooley and move on.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I knew who that was when I read the comment. He/she can't hide that easly from us.

Voice likes to think that his/her opinion matters.
Typical Gator troll.

bearcat14 writes:

BigOrangeNation wrote:
"Agree with your notion on coaches, but a college coach's contract basically isn't worth the paper it's written on. Not sure what if anything could be done."
.
... The 123 division 1-A university presidents could do it in a heartbeat. All they have to do is agree to not hire any head coach from another 1-A school who is under contract.

cdonsbach writes:

If Coach Orgeron called the players, is there any proof that they understood a single word he said?
I bet it went down like this:
player: "Hello?"
Coach O: "Aww yaw yaw huh ugh yaw yaw blargh ugh aww yaw yaw!"
player: "WTH?" (hangs up phone)

Farmer Fran is going to get a school in serious trouble with the NCAA.

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

Almost a year ago when I wrote on here that "these are not good people," I was chastised by this board. When I wrote that staff members and players were not "buying in" to the "USC East" program, I was chastised. When I said that Kiffin was mostly disliked by former players, people said I was a liar.

When I said that NCAA violations were occuring, the people who so desperately want UT to win said I didn't know what I was talking about.

I was right on all points.

Now take this one to the bank, too.

Mike Hamilton was aware of many NCAA violations and personally participated in covering up two of them. Mike cannot talk about trying to embrace integrity and Tennessee tradition when he was a willing accomplice to gross violations of each of them.

VolWoman writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

So what, so what, so what? If the kid wanted to come here because of Kiffin, let him (and any others) go. Talent is talent, I get it, but you can't make a horse drink by leading him to water. If they have wandering eyes, they would never be the kind of player we need. I'll bet for next year, the "Saban" rule for recruiting will be in place. If you commit to us, no more visits. If you visit after you commit, you are no longer welcome. He sure hasn't had any problem with the wishy-washy commits who keep us on the Rivals/Scout websites every day. Ambles and company should go where they want but if they think Kiffin was the answer, they are asking the wrong questions for our new staff/team. Go Vols!!!

Does Saban really do that? In a way, I like it. If nothing else, they would save us for last and we'd have the chance for that last impression. It's hard to argue with Coach Saban's results.

LDDFC912 writes:

Just a bunch of dirty dirty dirty dogs.

TheFuj writes:

Go Hammy. Get some respect back. Dooley needs to concentrate on recruiting coaches and players, but you can go after Lame and Orge. If it hurts them any in future recruiting then it is worth Hammy's time and effort.
Have to fault Monte on this as well. Daddy should have sat Jr. down and said look son the Raiders term did not end well, but most blame Al Davis. Monte should have stressed that we have made a lot of promises and commitments here to a lot of people including a lot of young men playing for us. We need to stick to this for a few years. When Jr. says he is still going, then Monte should have said I am either retiring or staying. Dad has got to keep teaching. I lost a lot of respect for Monte.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to bearcat14:

BigOrangeNation wrote:
"Agree with your notion on coaches, but a college coach's contract basically isn't worth the paper it's written on. Not sure what if anything could be done."
.
... The 123 division 1-A university presidents could do it in a heartbeat. All they have to do is agree to not hire any head coach from another 1-A school who is under contract.

Too much money involved and there are a great many university presidents who could care less about sports on their campus.

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