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Vols' response to NCAA: Pruitt, staff 'deceived' monitors
AP Nov 24, 2022 13 days ago
Tennessee is defending itself against the NCAA's Level I charge of failing to monitor the https://apnews.com/hub/college-football">football program, saying former coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine others fired “repeatedly deceived” administrators and compliance staff overseeing the program.
“The University respectfully submits that it is unrealistic to expect an institution to prevent, or immediately detect, the intentional and concealed misconduct that occurred in this case," Tennessee wrote in the 108-page response dated Monday and obtained first by Knox News on Thursday.
The university argued in is response that it “demonstrated its unparalleled commitment to integrity” led by Chancellor Donde Plowman in investigating and holding everyone accountable while protecting athletes from suffering the consequences.
The university mirror-imaged football staffers’ cellphones, leading to information the NCAA noted in July that helped substantiate the alleged violations. Security footage from a Knoxville hotel also was included.
In addition to Pruitt, Tennessee fired two assistants and seven members of the recruiting and support staff. Pruitt, three of his assistants and three other staffers could face show-cause penalties making it difficult for them to get another college job after a hearing is held with the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions.
“The factual information in this case demonstrates that experienced football coaches and non-coaching staff members knowingly violated longstanding and universally understood NCAA rules and went to considerable lengths to conceal their misconduct,” Tennessee wrote in its response.
The university noted recruiting visits were monitored using industry standards, including “embedding an experienced compliance staff member in the program.”
Tennessee's response also cited eight specific cases for precedent where universities either self-imposed penalties or had aggravating circumstances, as well as NCAA notes from meetings in April and May on transforming its own rules for name, image and likeness and the transfer portal.