Tennessee self-imposes 2 years of probation for NCAA violations

More details in UT's response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations

  • Two years of probation, which will require UT to send annual compliance reports to the NCAA and the SEC.
  • The men’s basketball staff is not permitted to provide occasional off-campus meals during the 2011-12 academic year.
  • On Nov. 1, the first day of the November 2011 contact period, only 50 percent of the football staff can make recruiting telephone calls to prospective student athletes.
  • During the Spring 2011 evaluation period, the football staff had its permissible recruiting days reduced from 168 to 162.
  • Additional years of probation
  • More intrusive recruiting restrictions
  • Scholarship reductions
  • Postseason ban
Former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, now at Southern California, enters a hearing by the NCAA's infractions committee in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Photo by AJ Mast/Associated Press

Former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, now at Southern California, enters a hearing by the NCAA's infractions committee in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl leaves a hearing by the NCAA's infractions committee in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Photo by AJ Mast/Associated Press

Former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl leaves a hearing by the NCAA's infractions committee in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 11, 2011.

The University of Tennessee self-imposed two years of probation on its athletic department after it submitted its response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations on May 20, according to documents obtained Friday by the News Sentinel through a public records request.

Outside of a handful of recruiting restrictions placed on the current football staff and a minor restriction placed on the new men’s basketball staff in 2011, the university believed that "the penalties imposed during the course of its investigation, coupled with its corrective measures, adequately address the violations that occurred."

"The University has taken what it believes are meaningful and appropriate steps to address the problems identified in this case," the response reads, "including declaring student-athletes ineligible, implementing enhancements to the compliance program, and self-imposing penalties upon the particular coaching staff members and sports programs that were designed to punish the head coach, deter similar conduct in the future, and offset any advantages that the programs may have gained."

Along with the probation, UT has enacted the following self-imposed punishments:

Men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff are not permitted to provide occasional off-campus meals during the 2011-12 academic year.

On Nov. 1, the first day of the November 2011 contact period, only 50 percent of coaches (10 to five) on Derek Dooley’s football coaching staff can make recruiting telephone calls to prospective student athletes.

During the Spring 2011 evaluation period, the football staff had its permissible recruiting days reduced from 168 to 162.

UT and its attorneys from Bond, Schoeneck and King made and defended these additional punitive punishments at a Committee on Infractions hearing on June 11 in Indianapolis, where UT and its former coaches in football and men’s basketball were summoned after being accused of committing 12 major violations. As granted by the NCAA, the committee has the power to levy further punishments, including a reduction of scholarships and a postseason ban.

It’s not set when the COI will announce its rulings, but the minimum processing time is no fewer than eight weeks from the hearing.

The newly unveiled self-sanctions are in addition to the litany of penalties it issued throughout the 21-month investigation and during the months between when UT received the Notice of Allegations in February to the June hearing.

As noted in the response, all individuals associated with the violations, with the exception of football director of player personnel Steve Rubio, are no longer employed by the university. That includes former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned days before the June hearing, and former basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his three assistants, the latter of whom collectively misled NCAA investigators during June 2010 interviews.

"Sadly, this became a case of a head coach and his assistants following a somewhat correctable secondary violation with a series of bad decisions," the response reads. "Those decisions put a proud and reputable program in substantial jeopardy and eventually led to the termination of employment of the four coaches, each of whom had a promising future at the University."

When the NCAA hits an institution with a Notice of Allegations, the school has 90 days to provide answers to a number of questions that either agree or disagree with the facts presented. UT’s response was lengthy, as the document, which featured numerous redactions to protect the names of currently enrolled students, nearly totaled 200 pages.

The university considered most of the allegations to be "substantially correct," though it did disagree with the severity attached to a few of the allegations.

UT disputed two of the 96 impermissible phone calls made to 12 men’s basketball recruits. Two of the phone calls made by Steve Forbes to Josh Selby were, in UT’s interpretation, OK, according to the response.

The "bump" violation that occurred just days after Pearl’s emotional press conference where he confessed to misleading NCAA investigators and ultimately led to his firing was secondary "based upon the facts and circumstances under which it occurred," according to the response.

UT believed that Pearl and assistant Tony Jones’ contact with Oak Hill academy prospect Jordan Adams was impermissible, but the facts of the violation were consistent with secondary infractions case precedent.

UT agreed that Pearl failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance when it pertained to a number of the violations, but not the "bump" or a violation involving assistant Jason Shay because they were both "isolated" and "inadvertent" instances.

The violation involving Shay is heavily redacted and unintelligible.

The 16 impermissible phone calls made by former football coach Lane Kiffin’s staff over a six-day period in January 2010 should also be considered as secondary violations, according to the response.

The response completely disputes an allegation that former Kiffin assistant David Reaves urged an unidentified, currently enrolled student to call and text recruits because the report is "lacking both in documentary evidence and supporting statements from the involved parties."

UT agreed that Kiffin failed to monitor his coaching staff or promote an atmosphere of compliance in multiple instances, but not in another violation that centered on Reaves because Reaves "acted on his own and without notice to Kiffin." The second violation associated with Reaves is heavily redacted

Also of note, the response reveals that the NCAA received the infamous photo of Pearl posing with then-high school junior Aaron Craft at his home from an anonymous source via U.S. Mail. Underneath, the caption read: "Question: Is having Aaron Craft a 2010 high school recruit in your home an NCAA violation? I wonder if the NCAA would think so …"

Included throughout the document are partial transcripts of interviews with Pearl and his assistants and NCAA investigators. In June 2010, all four coaches fielded a barrage of questions regarding the photograph, but none could confirm that the picture was taken at Pearl’s home.

At Pearl’s request, all four met with investigators again in August 2010 to come clean.

"I panicked," Pearl said in his follow-up interview. "I wanted it to go away."

The response lists a number of corrective measures to ensure that these violations, which warranted the university’s first major infractions case since 1991, won’t happen again. Included in those are a new, strict policy for telephone call violations and the requirement for all of the school’s coaches to submit quarterly compliance statements to chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

"The University is deeply disappointed that these violations have occurred," the response reads. "The depth of the disappointment is matched only by its commitment to doing whatever is necessary to restore the reputations of its men’s basketball and football programs."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

Timeline for NCAA investigation of Tennessee

Sept. 20, 2008: A cookout at basketball coach Bruce Pearl’s house with recruits Aaron Craft, Josh Selby and others is the scene of a photograph of Craft and Pearl.

2009

Fall of 2009: Two members of Orange Pride hostess organization are pictured with prospects at a high school game in Duncan, S.C.

Oct. 12, 2009: Football aide Steve Rubio accompanies head coach Lane Kiffin on a recruiting visit to a high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after Kiffin had been advised this was not allowed.

2010

Jan. 12, 2010: Kiffin resigns as football coach to accept position at Southern California.

Jan. 15, 2010: Derek Dooley hired to replace Kiffin.

April 16, 2010: NCAA enforcement staff receives anonymous mail including photo of Pearl and Craft.

June 8, 2010: NCAA notifies Tennessee photo will be discussed in upcoming interview.

June 14, 2010: Pearl and his staff provide misleading information about September cookout to NCAA investigators during interview.

June 14, 2010: Pearl initiates contact with John Craft, father of Aaron Craft, to discuss the photo and cookout, raising suspicion of cover-up.

Aug. 5, 2010: Pearl and staff voluntarily re-interview with NCAA investigators and acknowledge lying in previous interview.

Sept. 10, 2010: UT announces it has received a Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA and that it has penalized Pearl and his staff with salary reductions and other sanctions. The fact that Pearl’s contract has been terminated is not revealed.

Sept. 14, 2010: Pearl and assistant Tony Jones have chance contact with a recruit at Oak Hill Academy that the NCAA will later designate a major violation.

Nov. 19, 2010: SEC commissioner Mike Slive suspends Pearl from eight league games.

2011

Feb. 23, 2011: UT receives long-awaited Notice of Allegations from NCAA in which 12 major infractions are charged.

March 21, 2011: Pearl is fired.

March 27, 2011: Cuonzo Martin hired to replace Pearl.

May 20, 2011: UT self-imposes a two-year probation on men’s athletic programs in advance of Committee on Infractions hearing but doesn’t make it public.

June 11, 2011: UT appears before the Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis to plead its case.

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Comments » 101

SATCHMOE writes:

I'm just not sure

jandjhome#228397 writes:

With any luck , they may buy it.

Willis writes:

43 DAYS TILL FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!!!

SATCHMOE writes:

Not sure that imposing things on yourselve changes judgements that are supposedly already made

SATCHMOE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree totally can't be that easy

TommyJack writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Straight from KNS sponsored troll. You heard it here first, fans.

keepitreal4vols writes:

I wish the NCAA would just write the final chapter so we can close this book. Be done with it already!

CoverOrange writes:

"UT and its attorneys from Bond, Schoeneck and King made and defended these additional punitive punishments at June's Committee on Infractions hearing"

Just in case some of you were speed reading and skipped this part. The offer was made to the NCAA 6 weeks ago.

CoverOrange writes:

"including declaring student-athletes ineligible"

Who was declared ineligible? I don't remember.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, you're both dumber and funnier than the 3 stooges!

"Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop! Nyuck, nycuk, nyuck, nyuck! I'm 'CantStandSaban' and no one can stand me!"

"The Vols suck! Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop! Nyuck, nycuk, nyuck, nyuck!"

"The Vols are terrible! Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop! Nyuck, nycuk, nyuck, nyuck!"

"I'm an idiot troll! Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop! Nyuck, nycuk, nyuck, nyuck!"

"I have nothing of value to say but I like to act like a jerk! Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop! Nyuck, nycuk, nyuck, nyuck!"

SEC1 writes:

this is why dooooley will settle for a roster full of 3* recruits, i was wondering why this flury of 3* studs were flocking at ut's offer

movol77 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's much more than "no occasional off-campus meals." Read the article. The noted self-imposed penalties are "in addition to the litany of penalties it issued throughout the 21-month investigation and during the months between when UT received the Notice of Allegations in February to the June hearing."

CrankE writes:

It means that UTAD is tired of waiting for the NCAA to finish their $&!^!@ job and impose the sanctions.

I agree with that sentiment 100 large.

It's amazing when the NCAA will move like a glacier (UT's current investigation, Gerald Williams eligibility) and when they will move like lightning (The OSU 5, Cam Newton). One of the key principles of our justice system is the right to a speedy trial. Though not a part of the justice system, the NCAA holds that principle, the universities, and the very student athletes they proclaim to revere in the exact same utter, nose-thumbing contempt.

Thus, universities-in an effort to speed up the process are willing to self-impose punishments like a bid on auction begging the NCAA to buy it so that they can have some certainty about the future and move on.

When the NCAA wants to punish you, they don't make you vacate wins or championships. They don't put you on probation or take away scholarships. Instead, they make the university wait.

Bruce Pearl might have another job before the NCAA makes an announcement.

kingofthevols writes:

How does a university put itself on probation?

ncvol17 writes:

BFD a move that means little to the NCAA ...waiting for the Grizzlies

dgcarter43 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you have to show your stupidity with these posts?

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Basically you have no clue, correct?

tennrich1 writes:

You ole boys are going out on a limb aren't you what with predicting gloom and doom....fact is, you have NO CLUE exactly what will happen just like me....

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Straight from KNS sponsored troll. You heard it here first, fans.

No doubt,TJ..KNS will have airlift a fresh load of Jergens in for their boys after this story.

nepperso#220348 writes:

Uh, for football this makes sense. For basketball, dream on. The NCAA is going to back-hand our basketball program, period. Three years probation, three years post season ban, and double digit scholarship losses. I'm just being realistic.

trubleoj#657755 writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I live for posts when one troll jax off another.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy = 2 and 10 again.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy is great in basketball when it is not March Madness: one and done.

Vandy's football accomplishments speak for themselves.

Vandy's baseball is a lot like their hoops: lots of promise but no trophies.

pete_hastings#206889 writes:

in response to Unfrozen_Caveman_Volfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They did it back on May 20. The release of the information took place today.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to Unfrozen_Caveman_Volfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They didn't wait this long. They did it back in May. It's just now leaking out.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The COI already knew about this. It was done in May. Nothing new to them.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VANDY FAN!!!!!!!HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAH...OH MY..OH MY....HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

RunningWithTheVols writes:

I don't think the NCAA can hit us too terribly hard as the NCAA has bigger fish to fry.

- OSU: Big 10 flagship in football with many worse violations than Pearl's lieing-then-confessing secondary violation
- Auburn: Cam Newton's recruitment. The story is only going to get messier...
- Oregon and LSU: Using the "recruiting service" ala "amateur agent steering"
- UNC: academic fraud and coach (John Blake aka "Black Santa") steering college players to an NFL agent

If the NCAA hammers UT for what are relatively minor violations, these other programs will have to get hit harder. All of the above are the major moneymaker programs for their respective conferences, so the the NCAA has to "keep them in play" else effectively penalize the NCAA, itself via it's TV contract commitments.

Don't be fooled. ESPN and the Big10 Network are dictating the sanctions, here. For God's sake, taking OSU out of the bowl picture means some loser bowl is stuck taking IU or Northwestern AND TV has to show it. Taking UT out of the bowl picture means some loser bowl has to take Vandy and their 6-6 record and 1-5 SEC record, assuming they beat their usual non-con foes (College of Charleston, Furman, Wofford, MTSU, Liberty, e.g.)!

Pompey writes:

in response to SEC1:

this is why dooooley will settle for a roster full of 3* recruits, i was wondering why this flury of 3* studs were flocking at ut's offer

.....looks like jackasses can't count, but I counted (10) 4 stars on the last class plus the Gatoraide player of the year. I will take that every year.....and you Jack A can have what's left....

Titan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And Vandy's superior win totals came courtesy of the third sport - baseball. What's the number if you just add up football and basketball Mr. Dore? Better yet - tell me the combined Vandy BB and FB record against these weak Vols last year - I'll help you - Oh and Three. How many points down were the Vols in cranky old decrepit Memorial Coliseum? There's no way Vandy loses a game where they're up that much. Right? What? The Vols won? But I know I'm shaking in my boots right now because I just heard that Vandy is "All In" for football now! Does that mean that you're going to aim for three wins in football this year? And I understand that Vandy has all those same great BB players back this year that won how many games in the tournament? They didn't win? No - surely not with that talent. People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks which equates to People like you shouldn't call other people idiots.

SEC1 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vols1998 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your comparing schedules and wins as if their the same....once again your an idiot, CandyLand's schedule, wins, players will never, ever reach the highths of UT....go back to your Xbox.........the king has left the building!

GBO!

lafollette37766 writes:

I just do not think this self imposed thing is going to cut it with the NCAA. I really think the NCAA is going to come down hard on U T. Football may get off somewhat light but the mens b-ball is in for a raking over the coals.

UCFgradVOLatHEART writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I totally agree with you Saban. Vandy is for real. They are just a few guys away from winning the east and playing for a National Championship. I really think the funk of the last 75 years is about to end.

Vols1998 writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What? are you freaking kidding me, compared to who? OMG I hope your not Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Auburn etc...because everyone have had some major issues in this area.......UT was fine until Lame Kitten came around, and BP, well...he messed up.

GBO! There are two types of SEC Fans....UT Fans and those who wish they were UT fans!!

SEC1 writes:

in response to Pompey:

.....looks like jackasses can't count, but I counted (10) 4 stars on the last class plus the Gatoraide player of the year. I will take that every year.....and you Jack A can have what's left....

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

boxingfan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you sir/mam (whatever it may be I don't care) are a Vandy Grad/fan, shouldn't you be working at your job at the time of day that you posted this. I mean I'll go ahead and say it. I'm a young kid but I for one have a lot more common sense than some people on this site (like you for instance). So if your ready to get a real job that a Vandy grad should already have in my opinion and stop being a troll. You may have an ounce of everyone's respect here but that's a real big stretch seeing as how you are a Vandy fan (a dumb one at that).

jawga writes:

UT applied a 3 yr self-imposed penalty when they hired Dooley.

Titan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sure troll. You "own" the state but you can't pay the rent so you were 0-3 against the Vols in FB and BB. You are the ultimate Vandy fan who doesn't know jack about sports.

Since you have plenty of time on your hands, go back for each and every decade since the SEC was formed in 1933 and tell us how many times Vandy won in FB and BB combined in each decade and how many times the Vols won. Start counting and let us know the results oh Mr. Superior. We'll be waiting.

boxingfan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I apologize for saying you're dumb but for the 56 wins I have two words: Todd Raleigh

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor have no doubt several members of your family/coworkers/neighbors/strangers call you a troll. Witch Doctor say those that "Cant" are "You". Witch Doctor say since you mentioned you have kids..try to have some class...really in front of your kids? Witch Doctor say rednecks.....their kids suffer.
Bones never lie.

MitchelCrass writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Would you like to bet your membership against mine on the TENNESSEE>vandy football game? Honestly I can't for the life of me figure out why you people come on our site anyway? OH WAIT yes I do it's cause WE ARE THE BEST in fact we're so good that florida, georgia, alabama and now VANDY fans all want to come on our site and talk smack. You think vol fans go on your sites? I know I haven't and doubt very seriously any true fans have. Just like if you were a true fan to your school you wouldn't be on here either but you're are not. People like you just reassure me we are the best even in the "down years" you trolls are infactuated with us like a stalker ex-girlfriend or something. Anyway offer is on the table I'm willing to raise the stakes I'll bet my legs if thats what it takes to finally get rid of you trolls!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

You have to wade thru the stupid and obsessive trolls just to read a decent comment..Sheesh!!!

ScrewKiffin writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1. no 1 gives a cr@p about college baseball; the best players go straight to the pros
2. there are less football games than basketball so a win in football is more valuable
3. in head-to-head games (the true comparison of 2 teams) UT lead 3-0

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

You have to wade thru the stupid and obsessive trolls just to read a decent comment..Sheesh!!!

Witch Doctor try so hard not to respond but when they start bragging about being nasty online in front of their kids...wow. Witch Doctor cannot stand idle by.
Bones never lie.
Go Vols!
God Bless America!

Voluvr writes:

I'M QUESTIONING Jimmy Cheek. Why would you punish the football team????? I would be better to do this to the Basketball team and NOT the football team to show that we even think it should be nothing or so little we'll take our chances.

STOP Panicking MR. Cheek. Remember they probably don't want to sink SLOHIO ST. so they won't want to "precedent" with sinking us.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

Do any of you follow college sports, or football? LSU did the same thing and how many of you even knew they were under investigation? For Major violations.

This happens all the time, and the article states they "the news media" just found out because of the release of documents.

Read, think, and maybe read some more, it should help a lot in the future.

voloffaith writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I strive not to be harsh or contentious,but you are a broken record that won't get out of the groove. I will try as hard as I can to not read your stuff anymore because all I have to do is see your name and skip on since it is the same old drivel evereytime. I hope someday you get over this fixation and find true peace and happiness. Jesus changed my outlook and heart(work in progress) and these things called sports are fun ,but not worth the trouble some try to create on this and other sites.

dbc5361 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vanderbilt beat UT home and away when the Vols went to the Elite 8. Which team was better that season?
Wake up.....

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vanderbilt...where is that anyway? Somewhere in the Ohio Valley? Who cares about Vanderbilt? Not many people by the turnout of fans. Vanderbilt....are you kiding me? Vanderbilt? Ha Ha Ha Ha! Vanderbilt? What a freaking joke!

Go Big Orange! Orange! Yep Orange!

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