DESTIN, Fla. — Not many coaches and administrators can say they’re looking forward to their meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, and Mike Hamilton admitted Wednesday that he certainly isn’t one of them.
But the Tennessee athletic director is clearly ready to get it out of the way.
“This is something that’s lingered on for a long time,” Hamilton said after Wednesday’s SEC spring meetings at the Sandestin Hilton beach resort.
“One of the things we’ve talked about with the NCAA folks is the lengths of these kinds of things. During the course of that, you take public hits and questions about things that maybe people speculate on, so we’re ready to get to a conclusion.”
UT brass, former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl, former football coach Lane Kiffin and all the other various parties involved in the 12 major violations levied in February’s Notice of Allegation are set to appear before the COI next weekend at the NCAA’s headquarters in Indianapolis. It’s by no means the final step to what’s now become a 24-month process, as the COI will not deliver its rulings for at least six weeks after the hearing.
It’s just one big step closer to a resolution.
“We’re ready to go,” Hamilton said. “Nobody looks forward to this by any stretch of the imagination but we’ll go to Indianapolis next week and try to present our case.”
As he did at April’s athletic board meeting, Hamilton stressed that 11 of the 12 major violations are pinned on Pearl, Kiffin and their respective staffs. The university faces a charge of failing to monitor the men’s basketball coaching staff’s improper phone calls.
It is Hamilton’s understanding that most of the COI’s questioning will be “directed toward the coaches’ actions.”
Those coaches’ replacements, Derek Dooley and Cuonzo Martin, will both be in attendance at the hearing, Hamilton said.
“I think it’s good for them to go,” Hamilton said. “While it’s two days out of their life, I think it’s helpful to understand what the process is and understand this is a place you don’t want to be.”
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble