In the days leading up to his firing and the months thereafter, Todd Raleigh and his advisor, Mike Brown, met with Tennessee administrators in hopes of shedding light on potential NCAA violations and setting the former baseball coach up with a rosier financial future.
Raleigh and Brown were only able to follow through on the first part, and even that didn't turn out as planned.
After more than two months of internally investigating claims made by Raleigh and Brown in "check-out" interviews, the UT athletic department self-reported three secondary violations in its baseball program Tuesday, according to documents obtained by the News Sentinel. That's fewer than half of the eight potential, unreported transgressions Raleigh and Brown alleged were committed by his staff during the coach's four-year tenure.
The violations, which UT considers minor by nature, will not have any effect on the upcoming ruling from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said Tuesday, because the school's June hearing dealt specifically with major violations in the UT men's basketball and football programs.
The baseball program under Raleigh, who was fired May 23 after four seasons, was initially under the NCAA's microscope after the UT athletic department received a Notice of Inquiry last September, but when the Notice of Allegations arrived in February, the program was not mentioned once in the 26-page document. Later, it was revealed that the program self-reported two secondary violations to the SEC two weeks before the Notice of Allegations landed in the school's mailbox.
According to a 19-page report completed by UT's legal counsel from the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King, Raleigh and Brown made numerous unfounded claims of impermissible benefits provided to current players, prospective players and parents of players, while also alleging that UT attempted to "cover up" one of the violations.
Raleigh and Brown also made allegations and statements that "fell outside the purview of NCAA legislation," according to the report.
"Primarily, those issues relate to alleged actions of other individuals employed by the University and the alleged negative impact of those individuals' supposed actions on Raleigh's ability to develop a successful baseball program," the report reads.
Throughout the course of the meetings, Brown repeatedly tried to renegotiate the terms of Raleigh's financial settlement with the university. University Deputy General Counsel Brian Lapps informed Brown that "any discussions about contractual matters were separate from, and independent of, any NCAA compliance issues," according to the report.
By June 2012, Raleigh will have received $331,657.53 in buyout money, a figure UT confirmed Tuesday has not been adjusted.
"The majority of the information reported by Brown and Raleigh — either through written report or subsequent communications — appears exaggerated or, in certain instances, without any factual basis or merit," the report reads.
The three violations alleged by Raleigh that did check out all involved former director of operations Nate Headley.
Headley provided private hitting instruction to a prospective student-athlete on approximately 13 occasions in fall 2009 and spring 2011, a clear violation of NCAA Bylaw 13.11.1. According to UT's self-report, Headley stated that he believed the lessons were OK because he had established a relationship with the prospect years before he enrolled in the ninth grade, the time when an individual's "prospect status" is triggered.
When informing UT about Headley, Raleigh and Brown initially claimed he was providing private instruction to "over 30 prospective student-athletes." In a later meeting, Brown and Raleigh provided names of approximately 10 prospects, but only one checked out.
Raleigh said UT ignored him when he raised the issue of Headley's private lessons dating back to December 2010. The investigation concluded that those claims are "unsupported" because UT was, in fact, monitoring Headley as of April 2011, had initially concluded that he wasn't violating NCAA rules because the individuals had not reached "prospect status" and, overall, conducted activities "consistent with University compliance policy and its obligation to examine potential NCAA rules violations."
Headley also violated Bylaw 11.2.2 because he failed to complete an athletically related outside income form for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years, while also withholding information from his 2009-10 form.
Part of the third violation Headley is alleged to have committed came weeks after he was fired. In June 2010 and again in June 2011, Headley helped organize and hired current players to assist with the Team Elite Invitational, which is held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The two players reported that Headley paid them roughly $500 for approximately 75 to 80 hours of work during the recent tournament. Headley, meanwhile, prepared and printed tickets for the tournament and was responsible for coordinating field maintenance, gate workers and a scoreboard operator.
In response to the violations, UT implemented a handful of corrective actions, including a new policy in its compliance manual that coaches and staff are not to provide private lessons in campus facilities, regardless of the individual's age, without written permission from the athletic director.
There, perhaps, would have been much more self-sanctions if the majority of Raleigh's and Browns claims panned out.
When Raleigh and Brown met with Lapps, UT interim athletic director Joan Cronan and the school's lawyers on June 30, they brought a nine-section document with corresponding "attachments." They did not leave the document with UT, but sent a revised copy, without attachments, to the school on the following day.
The information in the packet was specific enough to prompt an investigation, according to the report, but most of it proved to be unsubstantiated.
UT's legal counsel interviewed approximately 25 individuals regarding the claims.
Among the unfounded claims were allegations that Headley purchased alcoholic beverages for three players during the team's series at LSU in May. Neither one of the players involved nor former pitching coach Jason Beverlin could corroborate Brown's claim that multiple players sent text messages saying "Come on down to the bar coach Headley is buying."
Also at the center of multiple unfounded claims was UT associate athletic director Carmen Tegano. Allegations that Tegano paid for a meal with parents of two current players, as well as impermissibly introducing former Vol baseball star Chris Burke and former football star Jamal Lewis to prospective student-athletes at a football tailgate last season also came up dry.