18 violations, nearly ,000 in illegal benefits from Tennessee football under former coach Jeremy Pruitt

18 violations, nearly $60,000 in illegal benefits from Tennessee football under former coach Jeremy Pruitt

The NCAA has charged Tennessee’s football program with 18 alleged Level I rule violations, the most serious under its rules, for improper recruiting benefits totaling approximately $60,000 paid to prospects and players under former coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Among other allegations, Pruitt is accused of providing about $9,000 to the mothers of two prospects. His wife Casey is accused of making 25 cash payments totaling about $12,500 to help a prospect’s mother pay for her car.

Tennessee, which fired Pruitt in January 2021 following its internal investigation into the allegations, will not be charged with a lack of institutional oversight because of its cooperation with NCAA investigators and its integrity in handling the misconduct, the NCAA said in a statement on allegations made was sent to the university on Friday.

“At every step of this process, we have taken swift and decisive action that exemplifies the NCAA’s longstanding values, which are reaffirmed in the new membership constitution,” Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman said in a statement. “The university engaged an outside attorney to fully investigate the allegations about the football program, acted promptly to terminate the employment of football coaches and staff, and shared our conclusions with NCAA law enforcement officials.”

The NCAA accused the volunteers of “failing to adequately oversee the ordering of unofficial visits to their football program and ensure compliance with NCAA recruiting laws.”

The NCAA accused Pruitt of failing to foster an atmosphere of compliance and failing to monitor his employees. Pruitt is also charged with violating the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when “he offers improper inducements and additional benefits in the form of improper entertainment to prospective and enrolled student-athletes and their family members or persons associated with prospective student-athletes.” and has provided and cash payments to numerous individuals, the release said.

“Pruitt has not demonstrated that he monitored his employees or encouraged an atmosphere of compliance within the football program when at least a dozen of his employees were involved in more than 200 individual violations of NCAA legislation over a two-year period, as in described accusation nos. 1 to 9,” says the allegation. “As evidenced by the number of staff involved and the nature of the violations, J. Pruitt has not demonstrated that compliance is a shared responsibility or established clear expectations that all coaches and staff will comply with NCAA rules, and fails to provide a.” Establishing such a program includes promptly reporting actual and potential issues to compliance personnel.”

The NCAA charged Pruitt and his staff with taking in six recruits and their families during a year-long deadlock when programs were barred from conducting on-campus recruiting activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA said the volunteers invited prospects for unofficial visits over nine weekends between July 2020 and November 2020, during which prospects received free housing, meals, transportation and other benefits totaling $12,000.

Perks reportedly granted to prospects included nail salon treatments and a trip down the Tennessee River on a student athlete’s boat.

The NCAA said Casey Pruitt, the coach’s wife, and/or Niedermeyer also provided $3,200 for someone to post bail and an initial rent payment for the move to Knoxville, Tenn. The person’s name was redacted in the statement of allegations that the university sent to ESPN.

“Receiving our notice of allegations was an anticipated, necessary step in this process — a process that our university has proactively initiated through decisive and transparent actions,” Tennessee athletic director Danny White said in a statement. “This brings us one step closer to a final solution. Up to this point I cannot discuss the case in detail. As a university, we understand the need to take responsibility for what happened, but we remain committed to protecting our current and future student-athletes.”

Despite the large number of Level I violations, NCAA enforcement staff chose not to charge the university with a lack of institutional oversight and even commended the volunteers for their cooperation during the investigation.

“The actions taken by the institution during the investigation should be the standard for all institutional investigations into potential violations,” the allegations statement said. “Throughout the investigation, the institution demonstrated exemplary collaboration in a number of ways. After allegations of possible violations within the football program were brought to the attention of the institution’s chancellor, the institution took immediate action to investigate the allegations and substantiated various violations.

Pruitt was 16-19 overall in Tennessee and 10-16 against SEC opponents. The Vols were 2-11 against AP opponents under Pruitt, who was in his first stint as head coach. Pruitt served as a senior defensive analyst for the New York Giants in 2021.

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