Big Orange Tipoff Club welcomes new UT basketball coach Cuonzo Martin
He just hopes an NCAA-imposed postseason ban isn’t involved.
“The biggest key with the recruits is what happens with the NCAA,’’ Martin said during his appearance at the Big Orange Tipoff Club luncheon on Friday at Calhoun’s on the River.
“As long as there’s no postseason ban, we’ll be OK and we can weather the storm.’’
Martin said he’ll travel to Indianapolis for UT’s hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions the weekend of June 10-11, along with athletic director Mike Hamilton, chancellor Jimmy Cheek and the school’s compliance officials and legal representation.
Based on NCAA case precedent, UT is likely looking at a minimum probation period of two years and the loss of at least one men’s basketball scholarship.
Future recruiting restrictions — such as limited calls, contact windows and official visit opportunities — also are a possibility.
A postseason ban wouldn’t necessarily seem likely, because the only major violation the Vols face that involves current players is related to excess phone calls. At that, the total number of impermissible calls (96) is not on the level with other recent major infractions cases involving Oklahoma, Connecticut, Indiana and California.
Still, it’s worth noting that the NCAA enforcement website states that: “Each case is unique, and applying case precedent is difficult, if not impossible, because all cases are different.’’
UT won’t know what penalties it faces, as determined by the COI, until six to eight weeks after the hearing, according to the website.
That timing of the penalty disclosure doesn’t work in favor of UT basketball because the potential for a postseason ban could be put in play prior to the season tipoff, as opposed to cases like Connecticut’s, where the COI announced penalties during the Huskies’ run to the national championship.
“The intent of the penalties is to ensure they are sufficient enough to deter schools from breaking the rules again,’’ the website states. “Unfortunately, some sanctions — like the ban on postseason competition — are deterrents but also negatively impact innocent student-athletes.
“While unfortunate, NCAA-imposed sanctions are meant to be punitive.’’
UT signed five players in the Class of 2011, bringing the number of scholarship players up to 12, one below the NCAA limit of 13.
As things stand, the Vols have two seniors (Cameron Tatum and Renaldo Woolridge) whose eligibility will be exhausted after the 2011-12 season.
That means UT could have a maximum of three scholarships to offer in the Class of 2012, assuming none of the players with remaining eligibility leave or transfer.
Hamilton said Friday he’s been impressed with the way Martin has handled his business and represented the program since his hiring on March 27.
“I think Cuonzo has been very solid,’’ Hamilton said. “He’s a solid individual with solid character who’s a hard worker.
“He’s assembled a great staff, and he obviously had to fill out the roster in recruiting,’’ he said. “Cuonzo has gone about that very diligently.’’