After nearly a year of work and just over $ 1 million in expenses, Volquest has learned that Tennessee’s investigation into NCAA violations under former head coach Jeremy Pruitt is over.
As a result of the survey’s findings and based on the belief to protect innocent current Vol players, Tennessee is NOT going to impose a postseason bowl ban. That is clearly the title here.
Tennessee strongly feels that the players involved in the alleged violations have moved elsewhere and many themselves will be in a postseason game. For the current players and recruits, putting to bed speculation about a possible bull ban is a step forward from the cloud surrounding the program for the last year.
Of course, the Vols must win two of their final four games to be bowl eligible.
The University will, however, impose other penalties on itself according to the nature of the violations. Although the specifics of these penalties are not clear, expect them to be appropriate for the violations. Looking at previous cases of recruitment — where the Tennessee violations occurred — those self-imposed penalties are expected to fall within the scope of recruitment itself. These are likely to include a reduction in scholarships over a period of time, a reduction in official visits and possibly recruiting travel restrictions and possibly others. Tennessee hopes the vast nature of their self-imposed punishments will serve to show how seriously they took their own investigation and its findings.
Head coach Josh Heupel said two weeks ago that he expects to sign a full signing class. Currently Tennessee has 70-75 players per scholarship.
It is important to note that the NCAA has not made a final verdict on the Tennessee case. In fact, although they were involved in the investigation process, the University has neither received notice of an indictment nor is their case scheduled to be heard. Probably not for a while, due to how slow the infringement committee is running. The reality is that no one is sure what the Violations Committee will even look like in the coming months. Tennessee made it clear from the start that they were working hand-in-hand with the NCAA in the investigation and continue to do so.
Tennessee hoped for a speedy resolution. However, there is nothing quick with the NCAA that has caused anger from institutional members across the country.
On Wednesday, the NCAA’s postseason ban from the Oklahoma State basketball program was the result of a case that was five years old. It is very clear that the NCAA process is less than effective. The decision on Wednesday to prevent Oklahoma State from playing in the postseason has attracted strong criticism from many across the country, especially since current Cowboys players were mostly barely teenagers when the alleged violations occurred.
There is a national movement to talk about postseason bans, with the story that student-athletes who have not been involved in violations should not be punished. The punishment should be to those responsible in the institution and the coaches. In the case of Tennessee, those parties are no longer on Rocky Top.
Also, the NCAA has explained in previous documents that they are in favor of protecting the student-athlete. The NCAA website states – The committee is trying to protect student-athletes who were not involved in the violation.
The National College Players Association explains that innocent student-athletes should not be caught in punishment.
Prohibit the punishment of college athletes who have not committed a violation. It is unfair to punish university athletes for actions they have not done, i.e. to suspend the post-season qualification of a team for the inappropriate actions of promotions. Such penalties have significant negative effects on the short college experience for many college athletes.
There is also proposed legislation with the NCAA Accountability Act, which proposes both a proper process as well as fairness, consistency and accountability.
The bottom line: Tennessee has ended a year-long investigation process where the NCAA has been included since day one, the university is moving forward with some secret self-imposed penalties that they are not allowed to comment on, but a bull ban is not. one of them.
Post-season is still on the table for Josh Heupel’s 2021 Vols.