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The disastrous Lane Kiffin Era has been officially recognized by the NCAA.
It doesn't appear Hurricane Lane will be causing much more damage at Tennessee though.
The Vols finally received their long-anticipated Notice of Allegations on Tuesday, and when released publicly for the first time by the athletic department on Wednesday, the broken rules all had a similar theme. The 16 impermissible phone calls, impermissible contact with recruits 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 charges of failure to monitor and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
UT could conceivably still face sanctions in the fallout of Kiffin's 14-month tenure with the program, but heading into its hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on June 10 it appears the Southern California coach might have taken the penalties with him when he stunningly abandoned the Vols on Jan. 12, 2010.
"We have received the notice of allegations," Kiffin said in a statement released by USC. "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."
Assuming there won't be a Summary Disposition to simply agree to all the facts ahead of time, the process could lend itself to an uncomfortable reunion with Kiffin and UT in Indianapolis after the 90-day period to respond to the Notice of Allegations ends and the case is heard by the Committee on Infractions.
But until - or if - they're back together at that point, the NCAA appears to have provided a meaningful distinction between the actions of Kiffin, his coaching staff and the Vols. And in terms of punishment, that could prove to be significant for current UT coach Derek Dooley moving forward.
According to the report, Kiffin and three other former UT coaches are alleged to have made improper recruiting contact involving phone calls, text messages and a visit to a Florida high school with an intern. Kiffin's brother-in-law and former UT quarterbacks coach David Reaves, linked for months with a trip by two Orange Pride members to visit recruits in South Carolina, was singled out for improper contact in the notice, though redactions made it unclear if it was in regard to hostesses.
But in at least two instances detailed in the notice, UT officials made Kiffin aware of NCAA rules before violations occured, which likely helped the athletic department avoid a matching charge of failure to monitor for the football program.
"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."
It's not over yet, and any announcement of penalties for either the Vols or Kiffin is months away at a minimum.
And while Hamilton refused further comment on the receipt of the Notice of Allegations, he has been steadfast in his few public comments on the investigation that there would be no great revelations about the football program and has appeared confident for months there would be no significant penalties for it.
Aside from specific details about the players Kiffin and the assistants called, including Brandon Willis, Seantrel Henderson and Ahmad Dixon, the report didn't have much groundbreaking information. And as for any punishments related to Kiffin's stop at UT, there's a chance they might be a different athletic director's problem now.
"We have received from the NCAA a Notice of Allegations against Lane Kiffin pertaining to his tenure as the head football coach at Tennessee," Southern California's Pat Haden said in a statement. "The NCAA enforcement process provides for Tennessee and Lane to address those charges. Until that process is completed, it would be unfair and premature for me or USC to comment on this matter.
"However, I will say this: Since his return to USC last year as our head football coach, Lane has been vigilant in making sure he and the football program follow the NCAA's rules and compete the right way. Lane has my support as our head football coach."
The Vols no longer have to worry about providing it to Kiffin, and the separation between the two parties is now clearer than ever.