Online Now 1230

Tennessee receives NCAA notice of allegations

The NCAA has charged the University of Tennessee with at least a dozen major rules violations committed by the school's football and men's basketball programs within the past four years.

Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl was the focus of the majority of the charges brought against UT's basketball program in the notice of allegations the school received from the NCAA on Tuesday.

All four members of Tennessee's basketball coaching staff — head coach Bruce Pearl, associate head coach Tony Jones and assistant coaches Steve Forbes and Jason Shay — were accused of wrongdoing in the notice of allegations UT received Tuesday from the NCAA, while the allegations related to the football program mostly were directed at former head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff.

The university was charged only with a "failure to monitor the men's basketball coaching staff's telephone contacts with prospective student-athletes and their relatives in order to ensure compliance with NCAA telephone contact legislation," avoiding more serious allegations, such as a lack of institutional control.

No charges were brought against Tennessee's baseball program, which also had been a part of the NCAA's 22-month investigation.

The school released the 26-page notice of allegations — along with brief statements from Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, athletic director Mike Hamilton and Pearl — on Wednesday morning after receiving the document and an accompanying letter from the NCAA on Tuesday.

Potential punishments were not included in the notice.

Tennessee will have until May 21 to submit a written response to the NCAA's allegations and is expected to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on June 10-11.

"Receipt of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations by the University of Tennessee is another step in bringing this matter to conclusion," Hamilton said in the statement. "Our institution has operated in complete cooperation with the NCAA since April 2009 as they have pursued their investigation.

"We take these allegations seriously and most items noted in this document have already been reported broadly. I would like to thank the NCAA enforcement staff for their professionalism and guidance during this process."

Most of the NCAA's allegations released Wednesday that were related to Tennessee's football program were directed at former UT coach Lane Kiffin, who's now at USC.

Not much of the information included in the notice was previously unknown. The lone allegation that had not been reported prior to the release of the letter was that Pearl and Jones "made an in-person, off-campus contact with" 2012 recruit Jordan Adams of Lawrenceville, Ga., on Sept. 14, 2010, during Adams' junior year. The two coaches allegedly visited Adams at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and "had a two- to three-minute conversation with Adams prior to the start of Adams' basketball practice."

The basketball program is accused of making a total of 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period, from Aug. 1, 2007, to July 29, 2009.

As expected, Pearl was the focus of the majority of the charges brought against the basketball program.

The Vols' sixth-year head coach is accused of impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes during an unofficial visit, acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches within the program, along with the charge of impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete at his high school.

Jones also was accused of impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete at his high school, while Jones, Forbes and Shay also were charged with failure "to provide full and complete information" relevant to the investigation.

"The receipt of today's notice brings us one step closer to a final resolution in this matter," Pearl said in the statement. "Throughout this process, we have recognized that we made significant mistakes, and we look forward to concluding this matter with the NCAA."

Pearl already has received a pay cut of $1.5 million over a five-year span and has been prohibited from participating in off-campus recruiting for a year, and he was suspended for Tennessee's first eight Southeastern Conference games this season by league commissioner Mike Slive.

His assistants also had their salaries reduced and were banned from off-campus recruiting for periods varying from three months to a year.

"The penalties imposed on our program to date have been severe, but I want to commend our student-athletes and staff for staying focused and working through these potential distractions," Pearl said. "The support of our fans and administration has been amazing and appreciated by me and my entire family, and reminds me every day why I have the best job in the nation. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the University of Tennessee, and everyone in our basketball program is focused on finding ways to improve every day."

Former members of the football coaching staff were accused of making 16 impermissible phone calls to prospective student-athletes from Jan. 3-9, 2010 — just days before Kiffin left for Southern California and took several of his assistants with him.

Kiffin is charged with failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program, failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches and permitting a football recruiting intern to make impermissible contact with high school staff during a recruiting visit.

Former UT quarterbacks coach David Reaves, who is Kiffin's brother-in-law, also faces allegations relating to impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes. Reaves is now New Mexico's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

"Any allegation from the NCAA is a serious matter for us, and we will address these issues in a timely manner," said Cheek, who became Tennessee's chancellor on Feb. 1, 2009. "As an institution, we have been proactive in dealing with these allegations, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA."

Already have an account? Sign In