The University of Tennessee announced Thursday that it has completed its year-long investigation into rules violations in the football program that led the firing of head football coach Jeremy Pruitt. It will not impose a ban on bowls.
The university released a statement saying it was "moving ahead with our focus on rebuilding football program and supporting student athletes" and that it would "hold itself accountable considering the nature and severity of the violations, our prompt investigations and corrective personnel, and the new recruiting environment."
ESPN was told by sources that the university plans to impose other penalties than a ban after the season, such as a reduction of scholarships or other restrictions on recruiting. Sources say that the NCAA has not yet sent a notice to the university regarding allegations.
The NCAA was heavily involved in Tennessee’s internal investigation, which was assisted by Michael Glazier, former NCAA investigator, and Bond, Schoeneck & King, law firm. However, the NCAA has yet not made a final ruling and could still levy penalties.
The university released a statement saying that although the NCAA Bylaws prohibit us from sharing information about the investigation at the moment, they do require that we provide this information as soon as we can.
ESPN was told by sources that Tennessee had hoped for a resolution from NCAA by the end this football season. However, given the NCAA's notoriously slow investigation process it decided that it would not be fair to penalize student-athletes currently in the program by imposing a bowl ban.
Pruitt was fired by Tennessee on January 18th for cause. This after the state had announced a month prior that it had hired Bond, Schoeneck & King to help with its internal investigation.
Pruitt was terminated by the university in January. Pruitt received a termination letter. The letter stated that Pruitt's conduct as an assistant coach and recruiting staff member led to a NCAA finding of Level I or Level II violations of one of the Governing Academic Rules. Pruitt's neglect or inability to take reasonable preventive measures were responsible.
In January, Donde Plowman, UT’s chancellor, stated that Pruitt's firing was "stunning" as well as "shocking" due to the sheer number of people involved in the incident and the extent of the university's internal investigation.
An attorney representing Pruitt told Tennessee officials that they had until Oct. 29 to reach a financial agreement with Pruitt or face a lawsuit. He claims the lawsuit will detail NCAA violations in the Vols' football program, and could result in severe NCAA sanctions. There has been no resolution.