A trip to support his best friend at the NBA draft briefly cost Trae Golden his eligibility.
The Tennessee sophomore was able to buy it back for the cost of his airfare and some mileage in New York City.
According to documents obtained by an open records request from the News Sentinel on Friday, the Vols ruled Golden ineligible on July 19 after it discovered Tobias Harris had picked up the tab for his former teammate to fly up and celebrate Harris' first-round selection by the Charlotte Bobcats last June. Harris was later traded to Milwaukee.
In an email to SEC commissioner Mike Slive and NCAA representative Jennifer Henderson, UT cited "mitigating circumstances, corrective actions taken by the institution and case precedent" in requesting Golden be reinstated after accepting impermissible benefits that totaled $304.26, which was to be repaid by donating that amount to charity.
The Vols guard wasn't aware of the violation due to a belief "he was just accepting an invitation to attend the NBA draft with his best friend and family," and based on his participation in all 24 games this season, his appeal was approved.
UT also reported two other secondary violations since Cuonzo Martin took over the program last year, though he wasn't responsible for either of them and they weren't tied to players.
On June 21, UT notified the SEC and NCAA of a violation in its advertisement and registration procedures for its Intense Skills Camp, which weren't consistent with the other camps listed on the school's website.
The other violation was reported on Sept. 13 in response to a press release sent by associate media relations director Tom Satkowiak that publicized individual workouts for the Vols and an interview opportunity.
The SEC informed the compliance office of a possible violation, which Satkowiak initially thought was permissible "because it stated the individual workouts were closed to the public."
A pair of violations by the track and field program also were reported by UT since September:
Impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete when assistant coach John Frazier called Marcus Brown at Maryland Eastern Shore before receiving proper permission to contact.
Assistant coach Jerome Romain made two impermissible phone calls to recruiting target Cameron Burrell during an 11-day period in August.