BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Tennessee freshman Jordan McRae is not eligible to play in games because of his role in an apparent NCAA recruiting violation, according to multiple sources within the UT athletic department.
He has continued to practice with the men's basketball team, and according to the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the restoration of his eligibility is not yet complete, McRae is expected to regain his eligibility soon.
McRae was one of three high school juniors who went to coach Bruce Pearl's home during an unofficial visit on Sept. 20, 2008, for a cookout.
Pearl said that at the time of the visit he told McRae and the other visitors - Josh Selby, who's now at Kansas, and Aaron Craft, who's at Ohio State - that their presence at his home was a violation.
The circumstances of the visit were detailed in a Sept. 9 letter from UT athletic director Mike Hamilton notifying Pearl that his previous contract was being terminated as a result of potential NCAA violations that he committed or was involved in.
Pearl has been offered a new contract which has yet to be signed. The new contract reflects the university's self-imposed sanction that he lose $1.5 million over the next five years.
McRae's eligibility came into question because of his attendance at the cookout.
McRae also was involved in a self-reported institutional violation - considered secondary in nature - that UT submitted to the NCAA on April 9, 2010.
McRae's official visit to UT, in October of 2009, involved his family checking in hours earlier than expected at the Knoxville Marriott Hotel where UT athletic programs commonly host visiting prospects.
Information pertaining to the hotel recruiting violations was released to the News Sentinel by the UT athletic department under a public records request.
UT assistant coach Jason Shay was found to have misapplied the early arrival rule concerning official visits.
He subsequently received a letter of reprimand.
UT's self-report states that it became aware of the hotel-visit violations in late Jan. 2010, when it received the post-official visit paperwork from the Vols' men's basketball office.
The Sept. 20, 2008, visits have been at the center of the NCAA's probe into the UT men's basketball program.
Pearl misled investigators during a June 14 interview when he was asked about a photo taken of him and Craft at his home during the Sept. 20, 2008, visits.