At the request of multiple media outlets, including the News Sentinel, the University of Tennessee on Wednesday released a new version of last week’s Notice of Allegations from the NCAA that contained fewer redactions.
The new version of the 26-page document, though, did not reveal much more than the original, which cites the UT basketball program for 10 major violations and the football program with two.
Nineteen areas of the document were modified, but only one portion provided additional insight.
It is now known that former UT quarterbacks coach David Reaves, the brother-in-law of former coach Lane Kiffin, was involved with two separate violations that fell under the umbrella of the NCAA’s accusation of the football program under Kiffin engaging in “impermissible recruiting activities with prospective student-athletes.”
According to a letter from UT associate athletic director-strategic initiatives Desiree Reed-Francois, the University’s Office of the General Counsel confirmed through the Family Policy Compliance Office that its interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was correct in the initial release of the Notice of Allegations.
“The University has not been trying to conceal information, but rather has been attempting to comply with FERPA and to protect student privacy,” Reed-Francois wrote. “Upon reexamination, we have determined that there is another way to redact the Notice of Allegations that both protects student privacy and avoids creating the impression that we are attempting to conceal information.
“We believe the enclosed, modified Notice of Allegations enables you to conclude that the vast majority of the redacted information is already publicly known and that the University is not withholding information except as necessary to comply with the law.”
In the original notice, Reaves was linked to impermissible telephone calls and text messages with multiple recruits, whose names were redacted in both documents. In the latest notice, Reaves’ name pops up in a separate 2009 violation, which was completely whited out in the original document.
Outside of the phrase “on or about,” “2009,” Reaves’ name and “with full knowledge that,” major details regarding the violation remain redacted.
Reaves has been linked to a highly publicized potential violation committed in September of 2009, when two members of UT’s Orange Pride, Dahra Johnson and team captain Lacey Pearl Earps, visited Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C. The two Vols hostesses posed for photos with Corey Miller and Brandon Willis who, at the time, were both UT verbal commitments. Miller is a rising sophomore at UT while Willis eventually de-committed and is now at UCLA.
The News Sentinel reported last September that Reaves was made aware of the violation but did not notify the school.
Under NCAA rules, Reaves was required to report any potential violation to UT’s compliance department immediately.
Reaves was promoted last month by New Mexico to offensive coordinator.
Like the original notice, the second of 10 major violations levied against the men’s basketball program and coach Bruce Pearl, including which specific NCAA bylaws were compromised, remained entirely redacted in the modified version.
A number of the modifications come under the basketball staff’s violation for 96 impermissible phone calls from August 2007-July 2009. No new names, however, were released, only that Pearl and assistant Tony Jones were the guilty parties in sections that were completely blacked out in the original version.
A number of steps the university must take to provide evidence in response to the recruiting violations with football were completely whited out in the original document. In the modified version, those requests were brought to light, but are now heavily redacted to the point of being indecipherable.
Citing a “unique circumstance in which the University believes it may be in the students’ best interests to waive their privacy rights under FERPA and consent to release of information in the Notice of Allegations,” UT offered current student-athletes whose names are mentioned in the notice to have their names made public. None of the students agreed to have their names released, according to Reed-Francois’ letter.
“The University’s redactions are designed to comply with FERPA and to protect student privacy, not to withhold information from the media or public,” Reed-Francois wrote.
UT has until May 21 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 10-11.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble