NCAA hits Vols football with additional penalties; tied to Willie Mack Garza

 UT assistant coach defensive backs, Willie Mack Garza, during practice at Haslam field in 2009.

UT assistant coach defensive backs, Willie Mack Garza, during practice at Haslam field in 2009.

Former Tennessee assistant coach Willie Mack Garza committed major rules violations in the recruitment of prospect Lache Seastrunk more than three years ago, the NCAA said Friday. The case brought additional sanctions for UT and reopened a chapter that many fans thought was finished.

The NCAA infractions committee extended Tennessee’s probation through 2015, reduced the football program’s official visits by four through May and barred the program from giving complimentary tickets to unofficial visitors for the first two games of the 2013 SEC season.

The committee said Garza was guilty of “unethical conduct” and slapped him with a three-year “show-cause” order that severely limits his ability to find another job at an NCAA school.

Tennessee fought the additional sanctions, believing the university had already been punished for infractions committed under former coach Lane Kiffin. But the committee ruled that the violations committed by Garza deserved harsher penalties.

“We will finally close the chapter on the prior actions of members of a previous football coaching staff,” athletic director Dave Hart said in a school release.

Kiffin, who left Tennessee after the 2009 season, was not accused of any wrongdoing in the case, and Garza said no other members of Tennessee’s coaching staff had knowledge of the violations.

The basic facts of the case are undisputed: Willie Lyles, who ran a business called Elite Scouting Service but was described by some as a “handler” for Seastrunk, purchased a plane ticket for Seastrunk and his mother to fly to Knoxville for an unofficial visit on June 19, 2009. Once there, Seastrunk and his mother were provided with impermissible lodging and transportation. Two weeks later, Garza wired $1,500 to Lyles to reimburse him for the cost of the flight.

Seastrunk, who eventually signed with Oregon before transferring to Baylor, is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The NCAA only uncovered evidence of Garza’s payments on Aug. 30, 2011, just six days after the infractions committee had closed another case involving major infractions by Tennessee’s men’s basketball program and secondary violations committed by Kiffin’s staff.

Confronted with the new evidence on Aug. 31, 2011, Garza admitted to his role in the case. He resigned his position at USC a day later citing “personal reasons.”

On Sept. 9, 2011, the NCAA notified Tennessee that it was looking into the new allegations.

Because most of the key facts in the case were never challenged by Tennessee, the NCAA enforcement staff pursued a “summary disposition” of the case, meaning there was no need for a formal hearing.

Tennessee self-imposed several penalties, including a reduction of days in the spring evaluation period. But the infractions committee said that wasn’t good enough.

“The committee did not have a complete picture regarding the violations that were occurring in the football program” in the original case, the NCAA said, and decided to add more decisive punishment in the wake of the new evidence.

Tennessee argued that the penalties suggested by the infractions committee were “unduly harsh” and requested a hearing.

On Oct. 13, while the Tennessee football team was preparing for a game at Mississippi State, the committee heard UT’s case in Sanibel, Fla.

The conclusion was the same: UT still had to pay for Garza’s misdeeds.

“We were disappointed with the initial penalties and appealed on two occasions, in writing and at the hearing in Florida,” UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a statement. “Although we disagree with the additional penalties, we accept the decision of the Committee. I am proud of the stronger compliance structure we have instituted at the University of Tennessee.”

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

Related

Official statement from NCAA

Related documents

NCAA Infractions Report November 16, 2012

Summary Disposition Report and Exhibits June 4, 2012

Letter From COI to Dr Cheek July 17, 2012

Letter From Dr Cheek to COI July 27, 2012

Letter From COI to Dr Cheek August 15, 2012

Letter From Dr Cheek to COI August 22, 2012

Letter From COI to Dr Cheek August 22, 2012

Letter From COI to Dr Cheek August 29, 2012

Letter From COI to Dr Cheek September 26, 2012

Expedited Hearing Instructions

Hearing Procedures

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 108

volunteerintexas writes:

circling the drain...

BornTNfan writes:

Kiffin still punching us in the mouth.

OrangePride writes:

Really? The gift that just keeps on giving! Lane Kiffin!! So great, we now have to go recruit a new coach with further sanctions that will need to be worked around. Seems to me that the NCAAA certainly took their sweet time dealing with something that's how old now? And in a related note: The NCAA is also looking into an unauthorized Snickers bar given to a recruit in an unofficial visit during the Coach MacDonald era in 1962...they are trying to get alllllll the facts before rendering their decision.

Vol86 writes:

garbage is as garbage does. The world is so full of scum including the NCAA group. Can't wait until they screw Alabama out of a BCS title shot a couple of times and the SEC will leave the NCAA.

td writes:

It's George Bush's fault!!!

agentorange writes:

huh?

F hamilton and kiffin. whatever ahole paid hamilton to leave should be shot on the 50 yd line at the next homecoming game.

CRFVols writes:

The NCAA phooey seems so backwards. This only hurts future possible student athletes who had nothing to do with all this, not to mention the entire staff that wasn't around for this.

volaholic45 writes:

Are they afraid we aren't dead yet? A couple of whacks for good measure, maybe to put a scare in Bama?

orange_glory writes:

that staff was like being constipated it takes awhile to get rid of all of it.

illinoisvolfan writes:

Will UT football ever be rid of the stench commonly known as Lane Kiffin?

orange_glory writes:

on another subject we need maymon back. losing to Oka st currently.

carbonzip writes:

Promote Dooley to Assistant AD and NCAA Rules Attorney.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Frickin' Kiffin.

VolGrad writes:

"Slaps" is the right word for it, just to add insult to injury.

Go Vols!

Colliervol writes:

As long as there are no scholly reductions, I don't believe this would impact a coaching search. Just another reason though that we should be thankful that Lame left when he did. We might have won more games but we'd be under the jail by now.

thevoice writes:

So much for the Statute of Limitations.

thevoice writes:

in response to Colliervol:

As long as there are no scholly reductions, I don't believe this would impact a coaching search. Just another reason though that we should be thankful that Lame left when he did. We might have won more games but we'd be under the jail by now.

Agreed, not a biggie.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to carbonzip:

Promote Dooley to Assistant AD and NCAA Rules Attorney.

There's an idea. It might even reduce the buyout clause since Dooley would still be employeed by the university.

LiveToRide writes:

And what penalty does Garza get for his lying and violation of the rules? Isn't he coaching at TCU? It's high time the joke that is the NCAA started coming down on the cheaters themselves and stop punishing the fans and student athletes that are being punished AFTER THE FACT. You hit the cheating coaches and this will stop. As it stands, they can pretty much continue with the status quo and it's the school that gets punished. They just pick up and set up shop somewhere else like nothing happened. Why not a 3 year show cause for Garza like Pearl received?

orange_glory writes:

cold shooting for the bball vols currently. we need maymon.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to LiveToRide:

And what penalty does Garza get for his lying and violation of the rules? Isn't he coaching at TCU? It's high time the joke that is the NCAA started coming down on the cheaters themselves and stop punishing the fans and student athletes that are being punished AFTER THE FACT. You hit the cheating coaches and this will stop. As it stands, they can pretty much continue with the status quo and it's the school that gets punished. They just pick up and set up shop somewhere else like nothing happened. Why not a 3 year show cause for Garza like Pearl received?

Everything you said makes perfect, logical sense. Which means that the NCAA will never go along with it.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

Cant have garbage in the house, then complain about the stench. Thanks Hammy.

Beavolfan writes:

Why don't these penalties get levied against the person doing the action instead of the University. Kiffin brought shame to UT and fell into a great program in California and reaps rewards. Hwo fair is that?

voodoo101 writes:

in response to agentorange:

huh?

F hamilton and kiffin. whatever ahole paid hamilton to leave should be shot on the 50 yd line at the next homecoming game.

Hammy and the fools who hired and paid him to leave. Drawing and quartering - slowly - would be better, but how would we ever remove the stench from the field.

copia69296 writes:

Perfect example of what happens when you go after the 'big name' coach.

utdoctor69 writes:

To all of you Kiffin/Hamilton lovers: Thanks again! Where are you all now?

The sad thing is back in '09, if you weren't on the "Lane Train"...if one dared speak the truth...well the majority of posters on here bashed you and called you names.

Mr. Kiffin's not so damn cute now is he?

jryevols#222657 writes:

This just in from ESPN.....

Dooley was releaved of his head coaching duties at the University of Tennessee this morning at 8:30 ET. Sources have now released information that due to Phillip Fulmer eating and sharing PizzaHut bread sticks with team members at halftime , the infractions committee has imposed a penalty that requires Dooley to remain one more year and that those holding season tickets are not allowed to sell any games.The penalty also imposses that Sal must gain another 50 pounds and play the part of Curley on the sequel of " The Three Stooges ". I'm teling you the NCAA is just wrong... Phillip ate all the breadsticks himself.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to td:

It's George Bush's fault!!!

lol, now that is funny!

SummittsCourt writes:

Thanks Hammy & weasel boy - you two clowns have destroyed the football program.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to copia69296:

Perfect example of what happens when you go after the 'big name' coach.

Sorry I dont see how one is a "big name" coach has to do with this. The issue here is character. When the rumors started flying that Coach O was the first hire, then we should have known what were getting. Then when Al Davis starts issuing warnings about character, then you have to know trouble is ahead.

eb502us#225637 writes:

The NCAA needs to change their punishment methods or this type of stuff will never go away.

If they went after a coaches wallet as part of a fine based on the severity of the violation, it would be a major wake-up call for coaches. Of course, each coaches contract would have to have the appropriate wording attached which shouldn't be an issue.

As it stands now, many of these coaches get off with little more than a slap on the wrist. The university should only be held additionally liable if a) they knew and it went unreported or b) condoned or assisted in escalation of a violation.

Does anyone think Kiffen really cares about what his assts. did at UT three years ago or whether UT is suffering for it? I think not.

volinky writes:

Is there any sport at our alma mater we can be excite about? Chamique Holdsclaw; basketball in Puerto Rico; and now this news??? Knowing we are going to lose to Vandy tomorrow for only the 2nd time in my life makes for a tough weekend...

Ironcity writes:

Four years later and Kiffin is still giving! I keep think their is a light at the end of the tunnel with this miserable Athletic Department at UT but I guess that was another on coming train.

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

What's next?

pcorange writes:

Tennessee should be able to sue Kiffin for lost revenue. Idiot.

gamecockfan writes:

Lane Kiffin is like a disease you cannot get rid of.
Its never ending with the mess he caused.
As a SEC family i hate to see the mess keeps on going. Time is now to the the phooey

gamecockfan writes:

in response to gamecockfan:

Lane Kiffin is like a disease you cannot get rid of.
Its never ending with the mess he caused.
As a SEC family i hate to see the mess keeps on going. Time is now to the the phooey

Sorry for the typeo
As A SEC family I hate to see the mess that keeps on going. Time is now to end the mess

VOLinATL writes:

And there are people thatr want to hire Bobby Petrino???? Slime is what slime does.

Orangeblood13 writes:

nothing like the good ole timing of it all. Knowing we might need a coach search, lets flash this all over the airways. Kiffin needs a tar and feather for sure

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

Thanks again Kiffin...your "gifts" just keep on giving. Glad you are not here. Here's hoping that the Bruins will ruin your weekend!!

baywatchvisitor writes:

in response to LiveToRide:

And what penalty does Garza get for his lying and violation of the rules? Isn't he coaching at TCU? It's high time the joke that is the NCAA started coming down on the cheaters themselves and stop punishing the fans and student athletes that are being punished AFTER THE FACT. You hit the cheating coaches and this will stop. As it stands, they can pretty much continue with the status quo and it's the school that gets punished. They just pick up and set up shop somewhere else like nothing happened. Why not a 3 year show cause for Garza like Pearl received?

I believe he landed as a def cord at NDSU....

D60 writes:

in response to orange_glory:

on another subject we need maymon back. losing to Oka st currently.

We need Pearl back

Vol43 writes:

in response to volinky:

Is there any sport at our alma mater we can be excite about? Chamique Holdsclaw; basketball in Puerto Rico; and now this news??? Knowing we are going to lose to Vandy tomorrow for only the 2nd time in my life makes for a tough weekend...

Well I'll be yelling my fool head off for the Orange.

oldster writes:

Penalizing UT football is akin to kicking a dying man. A real role model of sportsmanship, NCAA.

oldster writes:

in response to orange_glory:

cold shooting for the bball vols currently. we need maymon.

We need a coach to realize that the most important skill in basketball is the ability to shoot. That skill can be improved, but never to the extent that the "athletes" that all the "defensive minded" coaches want will ever be able to hit at a winning percentage while, on the other hand, defense can be learned by a good shooter who is willing to put out the effort (see Larry Bird). Get shooters and teach defense.

123forVOLS writes:

Lane(Twinky SoftCakes)Kiffin, the gift that keeps on giving. Good Golly man, just when all we have been hearing is how we will be soon having a new head coach, we get to hear about the one that "got away." I can hardly imagine how camped out the NCAA would be on Rocky Top if Twinky and Co. had stayed in Knoxville. Let's see now...add to my Thankful list this year...THAT KIFFIN ONLY STAYED ONE YEAR!

wycoller writes:

The kiff that keeps on kiffin.

GoVols_16 writes:

Lane Kiffin--the gift that keeps on giving...

chiputfan writes:

Flush it! Get rid of the cr@p just like the sewer kiffie is named for! If coach DoLittle doesn't win on Saturday then flush him too...I'm tired of being on the @ss end of this butt kickin!

pcshowtime writes:

kiffen is like herpes he is going to come back every so often.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features