Tennessee Fires Coach, 9 Staffers

Pruitt accused of major recruitment violations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2021 4:23 PM CST
Tennessee Fires Coach, 9 Staffers
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt calls out to his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Aubuen, Ala., in this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 photo.   (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Tennessee has canned coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine others for what the university says were "serious violations" of NCAA recruiting rules. The university says Pruitt, who is in his third year with the Volunteers, will be fired effective Tuesday, along with two assistant coaches and seven other staffers, reports CBS Sports. Chancellor Donde Plowman said the university launched an investigation after it received a tip about recruitment violations in November, the AP reports. "While the investigation is continuing, the information provided to us indicates serious violations of NCAA rules," Plowman told reporters Monday. "They occurred. These serious infractions warrant immediate action." NCAA investigators opened a case in December.

Because Pruitt is being fired for cause, the university won't pay his $12.6 million buyout clause. "Your failure to promote and maintain an atmosphere of compliance and to monitor the activities of the coaches and staff members that report, directly or indirectly, to you has led to the current NCAA investigation and is bringing and will likely continue to bring the University into considerable public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, scandal, and/or ridicule," Plowman said in Pruitt's termination letter, per ESPN. He said the number of people involved, and the number of incidents, was "stunning." Plowman said Hall of Fame coach Phillip Fulmer, the university's athletic director, is retiring for reasons unrelated to the investigation. (More Tennessee Volunteers stories.)

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