NCAA questions UT basketball staff about contact with recruits

Tennessee assistant basketball coach Tony Jones, right, discusses strategy with head coach Bruce Pearl during
the 2006 Arkansas game in Knoxville.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee assistant basketball coach Tony Jones, right, discusses strategy with head coach Bruce Pearl during the 2006 Arkansas game in Knoxville.

The Tennessee men’s basketball program was probed as part of an ongoing NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic department, a source in the UT athletic department told The News Sentinel Thursday night.

According to the source, who spoke to the News Sentinel on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, the NCAA has interviewed coach Bruce Pearl and associate head coach Tony Jones over the matter of potential violations.

The NCAA investigation involves phone calls and contacts made with recruits outside the parameters of NCAA rules, according to the source.

UT has not received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA.

Last month, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said there was a possibility the UT would received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA involving the football program.

Hamilton declined to comment on the NCAA investigation when reached via text message on Thursday night.

Pearl did not attend practice nor go out on the road recruiting Thursday, taking an official day off to celebrate the Jewish New Year with his family.

Assistant coaches Steve Forbes and Jones, who along with Pearl handle the bulk of recruiting, were on the road seeing prospects.

Forbes visited no less than six Memphis high schools Thursday, while Jones was in Atlanta and Clarksville. Neither of the assistant coaches could be reached for comment Thursday night.

The NCAA made contact last year with UT relating to possible improper use of hostesses in recruiting under former football coach Lane Kiffin during his one season.

Holdovers from that staff — Lance Thompson and Jim Chaney — were questioned by the NCAA last spring and ESPN.com confirmed that former UT assistant Eddie Gran had been as well, though whether UT is being investigated for more than the Orange Pride issue could not be addressed specifically by Hamilton.

“They originally came to us to talk to us about allegations related to the hostess situation last fall,” Hamilton said last month.

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Comments » 59

UTSportsFanatic writes:

"annonymity", huh?

IBleedOrange444 writes:

This is a really poop&y article. Who is your source?

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

THAT WOULD BE "SELLS"...BUT I DIGRESS

IBleedOrange444 writes:

Wonder if the NCAA is banging on ol' slimeball calipari's door considering his recruits are the ones raking in six figures?

utfan15govols writes:

It supposedly deals with the recruitment of josh shelby. Which as we all know was fishy, you commit and then back away and then at the end flirt with us and then walk away, in the blue Mercedes, hmmm, blue? What school colors are blue and red?

keepitreal4vols writes:

Princeton girls tennis team got busted and punished by NCAA this week. Is there a school that doesn't violate NCAA rules?

kyvol98 writes:

Fishing, purely fishing.....
NCAA has no one to answer to, so dip your bait in a nearby pond.. usually come up with nothing...

myers2324 writes:

great here we go

zansdad writes:

Nice way to try to sell papers. The headline makes it seem like the basketball program is under investigation, but once you read the article it seems to me that this is still related to the UT hostess debacle. If this were something new I think the NCAA would have sent a new letter to Hamilton detailing what they were looking for. As it is, this is just more of the NCAA looking at UT because of its last football coach and his cohorts.

BigBadVol writes:

Does this surprise anybody? The NCAA is a joke. They are on a witch hunt for the SEC in general. Everybody in the SEC has received some letter of inquiry lately. This too shall pass.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Does this surprise anybody? The NCAA is a joke. They are on a witch hunt for the SEC in general. Everybody in the SEC has received some letter of inquiry lately. This too shall pass.

Be careful, you are beginning to sound like Kiffin. We don't need that.

nola_vol writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Princeton girls tennis team got busted and punished by NCAA this week. Is there a school that doesn't violate NCAA rules?

In the minefield that is NCAA regulations, it's beginning to look like the Pharasaic hedge -- a set of laws created by the Pharisees to serve as a protective "warning track" to keep people from unintentionally violating one of the 555 laws found in the Torah. ("If you don't break these, you can be assured you won't break those.")

Besides, everybody knows about Princeton girls tennis... I saw a really rough-looking motorcycle gang outside a bar, with "Princeton Girl's Tennis" on their leather jackets. I also hear it's the second most popular tattoo among female inmates.

give_him_6 writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LoL. No you come off looking like an idiot. You just don't see it. Is that the best you got?

wags32 writes:

in response to give_him_6:

LoL. No you come off looking like an idiot. You just don't see it. Is that the best you got?

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

volsfannsc writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's not just the SEC Naval, but seeing how we win so many Nat'l Championships- naturally we would be in the crosshairs. The one name missing from all this is Mike Slive. What rock is he hiding under? Last year he couldn't get enough headlines- this year he's a recluse. Another thing bothering me about the NCAA investigations- unless there was some kind of hiring boom, where have all these investigators been the last few years? Are there a few hundred more on staff this year? I don't get it. This is comparable to the millions of dollars government is spending attempting to convict Clemmons and Bonds. Don't get me wrong, the college game should be clean, but there are rules forbidding a grandmother baking cupcakes for the team. I just don't understand the NCAA coming out of the woodwork in mass like this year. Something must be up.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

NCAA= restaurant food health inspectors.

They have to find SOMETHING wrong even when there's nothing. If they must nit-pick, they will. I do agree that I wish they put this much effort into their clearinghouse! It wouldn't hurt if they built most of their investigation teams around following the activities of sports agents.

brod writes:

let's hope this blows over. many people don't like the fact that tennessee is a major player in college basketball right now, including some of these football fans around here. i have news for you. tennessee is going to be a major player in college basketball for a long time, and there is no stopping that now.

iowavol writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Princeton girls tennis team got busted and punished by NCAA this week. Is there a school that doesn't violate NCAA rules?

I think you make a great point. IMHO, the NCAA rules committee has not kept up with technology. It seems there are so many parameters around contacting recruits that are archaic. In todays skype, IM and facebook world, perhaps the NCAA needs to - as you say - keep it real.

Tweedy writes:

I don't think the NCAA could'nt a minor problem. All the schools have them. You can't police every player, coach, or fan folks thinking they are just trying to help. This is a competative thing if you start to do good, people start to look harder at what your doing. Go play good and get looked at. Tennessee is just maybe on the s list because of Kiffin's attitude toward the NCAA rule book. This will pass with time at least the fool is on the West Coast now with all the radicals.

sierramister writes:

We are truly an NCAA investigation-crazed nation.

8ball writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

THAT WOULD BE "SELLS"...BUT I DIGRESS

I hope this site is not a secret english class.....If it is I'll take my F now..

HoraceMorris writes:

in response to zansdad:

Nice way to try to sell papers. The headline makes it seem like the basketball program is under investigation, but once you read the article it seems to me that this is still related to the UT hostess debacle. If this were something new I think the NCAA would have sent a new letter to Hamilton detailing what they were looking for. As it is, this is just more of the NCAA looking at UT because of its last football coach and his cohorts.

Read again:

"The NCAA investigation involves phone calls and contacts made with recruits outside the parameters of NCAA rules, according to the source."

That has nothing to do with the hostesses.

At least Tennessee doesn't have a pro on its team like Kentucky does.

OwensboroVol writes:

Does anyone have any wild scientific 100% correct guesses on where this came from. Its no secret that the King of NCAA recruiting Violations at my adopted home state and Bruce do not get along. All I can say is look at past performance. The only thing Bruce Pearl has ever been found guilty of is working 2000% harder that any other Coach in his league. Being a 1965 (it took me a little longer to graduate due to my major and Minor (Partying). FOR ANYONE WHO THINKS BRUCE WOULD HAVE TO CHEAT TO GET TOP RECRUITS ALL I CAN SAY IS TO DRIVE THRU THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE CAMPUS. Then meet with Mr. Sales Professional (Coach Pearl). From my observations Bruce lets his current players explain his program to the recruits. By that time they are either total committed to UT or or was never seriously considering UT really. And, by the way, its no secret that UK was upset that UT went further in the NCAA than they did. Bruce Pearl is a completely PROFESSIONAL COACH WHO DOES NOT HAVE TO RELY ON CHEATING TO WIN.

sitinhere writes:

Who in the world let Kiffin in on the BBall recruiting?

arkyvol writes:

its beginning to look as if anyone who came within a country mile of kiffen needs to take a bath.

EMBuckles writes:

The PRINCETON GIRL'S TENNIS TEAM?! Well what in the world would THEY have done?! The NCAA is starting to seem kind of like the secret police in some of the totalitarian nations! "Ve haff veys uf making you TALK!" If the NCAA is gonna go on witch hunts, maybe we need to get "Witch Doctor" to cast a spell on 'em! ;>

VolsToTheWall writes:

in response to sitinhere:

Who in the world let Kiffin in on the BBall recruiting?

Kiffin!! (read in jerry seinfeld "Newman!" voice)

TommyJack writes:

Maybe we shouldn't overreact.

airship writes:

i guess kentucky is squeaky clean. come on ncaa old calipari has you wraped around his finger.

Kasey writes:

The NCAA should investigate all accusations. If Pearl and staff have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about. After 15 years here I still do not understand the "worship" UT athletics mentality. I'm all for supporting you alma mater or the local school, but many people around here need to get a life outside of UT athletics.

crappieking writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Maybe we shouldn't overreact.

Exactly TJ. Yawn story to begin with. Slow day KNS?

Voluvr writes:

Please put your article through spell/grammar check and let us know when there's a letter of inquiry from the NCAA. These deep throat sources are real
convenient when you need to come up with a story.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I too think this will pass...At worst case scenario, this will be a secondary violation IF anything..I assure that there are other schools out there that have done a whole lot worse that should the NCAA be investigating thoroughly..They need to start with the actual school that signed with Selby, but I do understand all schools that tried to recruit him to be investigated(like coaches interviewed)...Don't worry about it guys, we will be fine.

BTW.where is Witch Doctor this morning?His expertise would be nice, as always.

Now,let's go pluck some Ducks!!!

dbc5361 writes:

Elite 8 Asterisk.

username writes:

"UT has not received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA."

Come back to me once the letter is received by the university.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Maybe we shouldn't overreact.

Well, Mr. Jack...The sky is falling,nay sayer,doomsdayer crowd does not like your post one bit.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to DC_BackByPopularDemand:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What's the over/under on how many times Pouncey snaps the ball over Brantley's head this Saturday

RoadTrip writes:

in response to crappieking:

Exactly TJ. Yawn story to begin with. Slow day KNS?

Shouldn't be in that we are playing a Top Ten team tomorrow at Neyland. But let's not confuse the issue with facts. Stirring the pot with innuendo at KNS is what they do. Only they could find a way to get Kiffin's name into an article on basketball.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Maybe we shouldn't overreact.

You never know but I'll be surprised if BP & Co. are very far off the reservation given the bullseye on his blazer.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Surely not....although suckers they have been on occasion.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is a pattern developing?? If the story stinks, print it and be damned?

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have definitely changed in the last few months..That doesn't sound like you Cat because usually you are pretty respectful on here..Just be careful and keep an eye on Calipari before you start caling Pearl the cheater..Just sayin'

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lame definitely made a mess of things and the NCAA may like to stick it to him. If that's the motivation, the way to do it is to go after the USuCks FB program with even stronger sanctions. Lame hates the Vols and doesn't care what happens to us. He will not be hurt by any penalties against us. I don't think this is about Kiffin.

scubadad1 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IMO maybe griff is trying to prove to himself that he is manly. considering how he sounds on the radio, he has to do alot better than this.

scubadad1 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IMO this is typical of most in the media. hit and run, drive by reporting. make a mess then run off and leave it all for others to clean up.
very perceptive WD.

crappieking writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Shouldn't be in that we are playing a Top Ten team tomorrow at Neyland. But let's not confuse the issue with facts. Stirring the pot with innuendo at KNS is what they do. Only they could find a way to get Kiffin's name into an article on basketball.

I was wondering how Kiffin was even mentioned. lol

eduardo writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah just ask the fake bball coach and the program how much the news senseless caters to them!!!

SilatGamecock writes:

in response to nola_vol:

In the minefield that is NCAA regulations, it's beginning to look like the Pharasaic hedge -- a set of laws created by the Pharisees to serve as a protective "warning track" to keep people from unintentionally violating one of the 555 laws found in the Torah. ("If you don't break these, you can be assured you won't break those.")

Besides, everybody knows about Princeton girls tennis... I saw a really rough-looking motorcycle gang outside a bar, with "Princeton Girl's Tennis" on their leather jackets. I also hear it's the second most popular tattoo among female inmates.

Actually in the Princeton case, a Princeton supporter paid the full one year tuition of a varsity tennis player. The story in my mind is not that Princeton was investigated, it is that they were not punished more than the player having to pay back what she received from the booster.

SilatGamecock writes:

I suspect that the BB stuff will blow over with little fanfare. But when you have a coach who was involved in points shaving years ago - the reason such a good coach could not get a name program for so long - you are going to be investigated. I like Pearl and think he is good for the conference.

I am just saying.

Final_Exam writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

THAT WOULD BE "SELLS"...BUT I DIGRESS

No the word is spelled right. It is the wrong word!

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