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#pounditSaturday, October 1, 2022

Ex-Tennessee coach accused of illegally paying thousands to players

Credit: Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Tennessee on Friday receive its notice of allegations from the NCAA, and they are accused of several infractions committed under Jeremy Pruitt.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Vols are accused of committing 18 Level 1 violations, which is the highest level of violation. The violations allegedly occurred under Pruitt, who coached the team from 2018-2021.

Pruitt, his wife, and some of his staff members are accused of violating NCAA rules by making cash payments to players and their family. The payments allegedly total around $60,000.

Pruitt’s wife Casey is accused of making $15,000 in rent and car payments to one player and the player’s mother over the course of two and a half years.

According to the News Sentinel’s report, in addition to the Pruitts, “assistant coaches Derrick Ansley, Shelton Felton and Brian Niedermeyer; and recruiting staff members Drew Hughes, Bethany Gunn and Chantryce Boone” were also accused of making payments.

Tennessee fired Pruitt for cause in Jan. 2021 after conducting its own investigation. None of the aforementioned staff members remain employed by Tennessee.

The NCAA commended Tennessee for its help in the investigation, which included self-reporting violations. The organization is not charging the school with the vaunted “lack of institutional control” tag, which should also result in lessened punishment.

You can read about each alleged violation at the News Sentinel’s story.

Pruitt went 3-7 in the 2020 season, which was his last year on the job. He went 16-19 overall in three seasons. After firing Pruitt, the Vols hired former UCF coach Josh Heupel, who went 7-6 in his first season.

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