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The University of Tennessee released its long-awaited NCAA notice of allegations today, as the football and men’s basketball programs were cited for a number of violations that had been addressed in the past few months, but nothing new or unexpected came from the 26-page document.
Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and former football coach Lane Kiffin were the main targets in the document, which allege a combined 12 major violations against the two programs, but did not reveal any potential punishments or sanctions.
The UT baseball team was also investigated by the NCAA, but no charges were levied against the program.
“Any allegation from the NCAA is a serious matter for us,” UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in released statement. “We will address these issues in a timely manner. As an institution, we have been proactive in dealing with these allegations, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA.”
The Vols will have 90 days to respond to the allegations. The university's appearance before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis is anticipated to be during the committee's meeting on June 10 and 11.
“Receipt of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations by the University of Tennessee is another step in bringing this matter to a conclusion,” UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement. “Our institution has operated in complete cooperation with the NCAA since April 2009 as they have pursued their investigation.
“We take these allegations seriously and most items noted in this document have already been reported broadly. I would like to thank the NCAA enforcement staff for their professionalism and guidance during the process.”
Pearl was slapped with “impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes during an unofficial visit, acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches within the men's basketball program.”
His assistant coaches, who, like Pearl, have already had their salary docked when UT proactively punished the program, are accused of “failure to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation.”
The men’s basketball staff made 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period (Aug. 1, 2007 through July 29, 2009). Because of those impermissible phone calls, UT was also alleged to have failed to monitor the staff in order to ensure compliance with NCAA telephone contact legislation.
“Throughout this process we have recognized that we made significant mistakes and we look forward to concluding this matter with the NCAA,” Pearl said in a statement. “The penalties imposed on our program to date have been severe, but I want to commend our student-athletes and staff for staying focused and working through these potential distractions.
“The support of our fans and administration has been amazing and appreciated by me and my entire family and reminds me every day why I have the best job in the nation. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the University of Tennessee and everyone in our basketball program is focused on finding ways to improve every day.”
The Kiffin Era was also officially recognized by the NCAA, but it doesn't appear like he will be responsible for much more damage heading into the future.
The 16 impermissible phone calls, impermissible contact and the use of an intern to make contact with a high school staff all happened under Kiffin's watch - and the NCAA specifically targeted him with a failure to monitor and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance charges.
USC also received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding Kiffin's 14-month tenure at UT.
"On the advice of my legal counsel, we cannot comment other than to say we look forward to working through the process with the NCAA," Kiffin said in a statement released Wednesday by USC.
Any penalties for the program going forward with current coach Derek Dooley remain to be seen. But when Kiffin surprisingly bolted for Southern California in January 2010, it seems as if he may have taken some of the NCAA's attention with him.