“Earlier today, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding the football program led by former head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
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. 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 Division I Board of Directors recently endorsed significant reforms to the infractions process proposed by the Transformation Committee, including clearly and meaningfully incentivizing the type of responsive institutional actions we took in this case – self-detection and reporting, self-accountability, and the active involvement of the institution’s chief executive. The NCAA enforcement staff recognized the university’s “exemplary cooperation” in the case and stated that “[t]he actions taken by the institution during the investigation should be the standard for any institutional inquiries into potential violations.”
While we will take appropriate responsibility, last fall, the university announced that we will not self-impose penalties that harm innocent student-athletes like postseason bans based upon the actions of coaches and staff who are no longer part of the institution. Under the NCAA’s new constitution, rules “must ensure to the greatest extent possible that penalties imposed for infractions do not punish programs or student-athletes not involved or implicated in the infraction(s).”
While NCAA bylaws prohibit the university from publicly commenting about the specific allegations, we have and will continue to seek a timely resolution of this case that is consistent with the NCAA’s new constitution and in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.
In the meantime, we will continue to support our football program’s new leadership, our exceptional student-athletes and the culture of winning and accountability they are building.”
Statement from Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White Regarding NCAA Notice of Allegations
“Receipt of our Notice of Allegations was an expected, requisite step in this process—a process our university initiated proactively through decisive and transparent actions. This moves us one step closer to a final resolution. Until we get to that point, I am unable to discuss the case in any detail. As a university, we understand the need to take responsibility for what occurred, but we remain committed to protecting our current and future student-athletes.”
Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, firstname.lastname@example.org)