The University of Tennessee released the notice of allegations sent by the NCAA this morning. The key points:
What’s Good For Tennessee
* The UT baseball program was not cited for any rules violations.
What’s Bad For Tennessee
* Allegations of impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes resulting from a cumulative total of 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period. (This was expected.)
* Allegations that Bruce Pearl had impermissible contact with junior recruits at his home, had acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, had failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and had failed to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches. (This was expected.)
* Allegations that Pearl and an assistant coach had impermissible contact with a recruit at his high school. (This had been rumored.)
* Allegations that three basketball assistants had failed to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation. (This was expected.)
* Allegations that a former assistant football coach had made impermissible contacts with recruits. (This was expected.)
* Allegations that Lane Kiffin’s football staff had made 16 impermissible phone contacts with recruits. (This had been rumored.)
* Allegations that Kiffin failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failed to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches. Also, allegations that Kiffin permitted a recruiting intern to make impermissible contact with a high school coaching staff during a visit. (This was expected.)
* Allegations that the University had failed to monitor the men’s basketball coaching staff’s telephone contacts with recruits and their relatives. (This was expected.)
* The words “lack of institutional control” were not used in the release. UT officials had to have sighed with relief on that one.
* UT was cited for failure to monitor Pearl’s phone calls, but not for failing to monitor Kiffin in general. That is big huge plus for Tennessee.
* It seems that Pat Haden might have some decisions to make regarding Kiffin’s continued employment at Southern Cal.
* With Kiffin and his aides listed prominently in the notice of allegations, the appeals of UT and Kiffin (and his ex-aides) might be linked in terms of time frame. If Kiffin and crew delay, conceivably, it could slow down the NCAA’s final verdict on UT.
* There were no unexpected allegations — at first view — levied toward Pearl. Depending on the NCAA’s penalties, it looks as though Tennessee’s coach will survive. Whether he should or not is a matter of great debate. But if AD Mike Hamilton is to be believed, UT will keep Pearl on staff. The fact that no new violations popped up makes that more likely.
* Following a 22-month investigation into three different Vol sports, the NCAA’s findings could have been much, much worse. For instance, UT could have been hit with a failure to monitor charge in football as well as in basketball. Instead, Kiffin takes that failure to monitor charge with him to Los Angeles.
Tennessee will now have 90 days to go before the NCAA and debate these charges. It’s believed they will head to Indianapolis in mid-June. At that point, the NCAA will then decide on penalties. And predicting penalties from the NCAA requires more tools than Doppler radar and StormTracker. It’s a crapshoot as whether or not the NCAA will drop the hammer on Pearl or not.
But, again, the letter of allegations could have been worse. So it’s possible that UT escapes this entire episode with scholarship reductions in basketball, small scholarship reductions in football, recruiting restrictions in basketball and some sort of suspension for Pearl.
From UT’s perspective, that’s survivable. But is it just? Let the debate begin.