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The NCAA sent the University of Tennessee a notice of allegations Friday detailing 18 Level I rules violations against the football program under former head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff.
Pruitt, who coached Tennessee from 2018 to 2020, was fired in January 2021 after the university conducted an internal investigation.
In the notice to the university, the NCAA alleges that Pruitt spent around $60,000 in impermissible recruiting inducements that were paid to players and their families, according to multiple reports.
Among its allegations, the NCAA claims members of the football program hosted six prospects during the COVID-19 dead period between July 2020 an November 2020 and spent approximately $12,173 in impermissible recruiting inducements. During the COVID-19 dead period, schools were not permitted to conduct any on-campus recruiting.
The University of Tennessee is not charged with lack of institutional control due to its cooperation in the investigation.
“In every step of this process, we took quick and decisive actions that exemplified the longstanding values of the NCAA reiterated in the membership’s new constitution,” Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman said in a statement, according to ESPN.
“The university hired outside counsel to fully investigate allegations about the football program, acted promptly to terminate the employment of football coaches and staff members and shared our conclusions with the NCAA enforcement staff.”
The NCAA claims multiple players competed in games while ineligible.
The NCAA also alleges that from October 2018 through December 2020, Pruitt, Chantryce Boone (assistant director of recruiting) and Bethany Gunn (director of recruiting) provided around $12,707 in impermissible recruiting inducements to a prospective player and members of his family. These benefits came in the form of hotel lodging, meals, airfare, cash payments, roundtrip automobile transportation, furniture and household goods.
Pruitt spoke to ESPN about the allegations.
“A lot of this information in the NCAA’s report I’m seeing for the first time and still reading through it,” Pruitt said. “I’d rather not comment a whole lot … other than to say that I’m looking forward to telling my side of the story somewhere down the road.”
Pruitt went 16-19 in three years at Tennessee, putting together one winning season in 2019.