Former Tennessee Volunteers head football coach Jeremy Pruitt has put the program in some serious trouble as the school has received a notice of major allegations from the NCAA.
According to documents obtained by Sports Illustrated, Pruitt, his wife, and multiple Tennessee football staff members provided a total of about $60,000 in impermissible benefits to more than two dozen college football recruits and their families over a three-year period.
The NCAA notified Tennessee of 18 separate allegations of recruiting misconduct from Pruitt and his staff between September of 2018 through the COVID-19 recruiting dead period of 2020. All 18 of the allegations are Level I, which is considered the most severe of the NCAA’s infractions.
The documents reveal that Pruitt directly provided several recruits with lodging, meals, transportation, household goods, and even furniture that totaled $12,000. Pruitt also made cash payments of $3,000 and $6,000 to two recruits’ mothers to assist in medical bills and as a downpayment for a vehicle.
The news dropped on Friday afternoon, catching much of the college football world by surprise as they took to social media to offer their thoughts on the situation.
folks, the time is now to dump all your bad news https://t.co/18vuuDDOmF
— Kegan Reneau (@KeganReneau) July 22, 2022
This is obviously ridiculous but no current Tennessee players should be punished for something that is essentially legal now https://t.co/bJ7iyV1e2C
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) July 22, 2022
This really reads very different in July 2022 vs. January 2021 https://t.co/XvXv2leaZ3
— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 22, 2022
And for what? A tax slayer bowl appearance ? The old alma mater continues to impress 🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️ https://t.co/ZbAL3TS2Nq
— It's Me, Margaret (@MargaretMenefee) July 22, 2022
Remember….Tennessee is the one who got caught. All of them do it and have for years. It just means more.
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) July 22, 2022
Tennessee: “You’re gonna help us avoid this buyout? Yeah, we’ll cooperate.” https://t.co/gCz0mpPOW7
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) July 22, 2022
Though the infractions were numerous and severe, Tennessee was not given the most severe “lack of institutional control” judgment from the NCAA, mostly because of its transparency and assistance throughout the NCAA’s investigative process.