Blog Entry

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 10:42 am
What does it take these days to get lack of institutional control?

We may be about to find out. Connecticut basketball didn't get it on Tuesday. Tennessee's basketball coach went so far off the reservation in lying to the NCAA that he needed a sherpa to get back. Tennessee's former football coach, already allegedly a serial secondary violator, got more thrown at him Wednesday when the NCAA's notice of allegations finally came out.

Bruce Pearl lied. Lane Kiffin pushed the envelope ... off the table all the way into the paper shredder. All we get is "failure to monitor" and "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance". If Jim Calhoun didn't blink after being suspended for three games next season consider the Vols. After 22 months of an NCAA proctology exam, Wednesday read a lot like a net win for Tennessee.

Major violations? Sure. It's conceivable that Ol' Mr. Unethical Conduct himself, Pearl, could be suspended for a year. He could also still return after that year which, you have to admit, would be a plus for the Tennessee basketball program considering his winning percentage. Outlandish? About as outlandish as how Tennessee got to this place meaning anything is possible. Assistant Tony Jones did all right (5-3) in Pearl's absence.

Kiffin has taken his act to USC where the penalties could follow. So how bad can it get? If you're Tennessee, it's damn embarrassing if a) the basketball coach gets suspended and b) if he comes back. For football, figure it will be nothing more than a slap on the wrist -- some recruiting visits, maybe some scholarships. 

That's what staying away from the dreaded lack of institutional control gets you. That designation from the NCAA is about as bad as it gets in these cases and indicates "a systematic breakdown in compliance," according to an association spokesman. Having it on their record keeps coaches and administrators from getting better jobs. The last two BCS schools to get slapped with institutional control were Arizona State baseball in December and USC football in June. Both schools were given postseason bans. That seemingly isn't going to happen at Tennessee.

For what it's worth, Arizona State is first all-time with nine major penalty cases.

Kiffin is the gift that keeps on giving in Knoxville. He was on that USC staff during the years in question. (To be fair, he is not named in the infractions report.) He was the head coach for one tumultuous year with the Vols. The NCAA wouldn't drop the institutional control label until the final infractions report. But for now, overall, it looks "good" for Tennessee. The NCAA alleged "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance ... and failure to monitor ..." in the football program. That's almost always considered a major violation. Bad. In this case, not damning.  

The "atmosphere of compliance" allegation is the same one that Rich Rodriguez and Michigan vigorously fought. It was eventually left out of the NCAA's final report in the case regarding abuse of weekly workout time limits under Rodriguez. The dropping of that charge essentially made it much easier for Rodriguez to find his next job. 

A further question is what will follow Kiffin to USC? Kelvin Sampson was found to be a serial violator at Oklahoma and Indiana. He was eventually given a five-year show-cause order, the NCAA's kiss of death when it comes to being able to find work. Rick Neuheisel was in a similar situation at Washington. After he moved from Colorado, the NCAA banned him from off-campus recruiting for a year. Could the same happen to Kiffin, and what would his new boss, Pat Haden, think about it? It would be hard to rebuild USC without being able to go out on the road for a while.

"The penalties are directed at the [originating] university," said NCAA spokesman Stacey Osburn. "However, there are things like a show-cause order that could follow a coach regardless of where they are, where it limits their athletically-related duties."

There is precious little in the allegations about the Tennessee Orange Pride scandal, at least on the record. The New York Times reported 14 months ago that the student ambassador group had been used to make improper contact with recruits. The Times report said Tennessee hostesses were traveling to South Carolina to see recruits play. Former assistant David Reaves is mentioned in a heavily-redacted section mentioning impermissible phone calls and text messages.

 The most interesting part of the allegations might be in section 9 c. The NCAA says Kiffin allowed recruiting intern Steve Rubio to make impermissible contact with the staff at Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, Rubio's old school. The NCAA says the contact occurred after Kiffin and Rubio were both told by Tennessee's football operations guy that Rubio couldn't enter the grounds while accompanying a coach on a recruiting visit. This occurred, the NCAA said, before Rubio was certified to recruit off campus.

Rubio is now current Tennessee coach Derek Dooley's director of player personnel.

Vacating wins are at least on the table: Tennessee is being asked by the NCAA for "a list of the institution's win-loss record for the past four seasons." I'm told that's fairly boiler plate in these types of investigations. But it's also the type of language that was included at Florida State before Bobby Bowden had to give up those wins.

Is all that enough reason to be worried? After 22 months during which it was jilted by one coach and suffered the lies of another, Tennessee still has to feel "good".
Category: NCAAF
Tags: NCAA, Tennessee

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:49 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

While I am not here to crucify Kiffin I think the points have been made that should have all USC fans concerned. He did have a loose mouth in Tennessee that got him in trouble(just a matter of time in Cal) and he was on the staff that was, in everyones opinion but USC fans, looking the other way during the Bush time frame. So it would concern me if I had a coach on staff that was a whipping boy of the NCAA at this time, especially while you are on probation and surely under a microscope by the NCAA for any minor infraction. Kiffin is a walking time bomb set to explode at the drop of a hat. Itd just a matter of time and he is going to unravel, its not in his nature to behave as eveidence by his antics with Tennessee and his former employer in Oakland. Good luck though.

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2011 9:11 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Kiffin is not my favorite coach but I love the coaches he has around him.
Even Ed Orgeron???  Kiffin is bad enough, but that fat piece of crap personifies the term 'scumbag'

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:13 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

You girls really need to go over this Lane Kiffin divorce.  He is the USC coach now and he is innocent until proven guilty of something he does at USC.  If that day comes I will be calling for his head but I believe in giving people second chances if Coach Kiffin does well next year and we win ten games he has my support along with every other USC fan until he does something wrong.

If you guys don't like him so much stop trying to discredit the man so much.  I have openly said he acted like a complete idiot as the Vols head coach but that's in the past and everyone needs to let it go.

And people are honestly hilarious did someone just seriously just knock us for only winning eight games? How many teams don't even win seven games? Heck a lot of teams are happy to get to six.

Kiffin is not my favorite coach but I love the coaches he has around him. He has done nothing but improve the program tremendously since being named head coach.  Your not USC fans so you could not see what the problem was, it was Pete Caroll and his depleted coaching staff. 

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:51 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Chris, You're policing him ? Now that's funny ! He's a coward, and a cheat, like about 100 more coaches. Who doing the policing, Bruce Pearl ? Pete Carroll from afar ?  Mike FRIGGIN Garrett. What a joke this whole situation is, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. See: Auburn and Cam the Scam.

Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:37 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

I am puzzled by the comments being posted about the football violations.  Yes, Kiffin and his coaches appear to have made 18 impermissible phone calls, and yes, he allowed Rubio to accompany him onto the grounds of the high school and meet with adminstrators.  Kiffin knew these were not permissible, yet allowed them, which was incredibly foolish.  But let's get real here.  It was 18 phone calls.  In the past 6 months, we have seen dozens of programs noted for violations involving dozens, and in some cases, hundreds of impermissible phone calls and text messages.  In almost every case, the penalties were minor to non-existant.  Why are people so up in arms about a likely slap on the wrist for 18?

As to Rubio, until the final report comes out, we don't even know if he did more than come in, say hello to people he already knew there, and then sit and watch, sit in an outer office, or actively participate.  In any case, such contact is almost always a minor infraction.

I am not a UT fan, but at least as far as the football violations go, the coments apear to be making way more of this than appears to exist.  And because Kiffin was offensive in the way he went after Urban Meyer, or because he couldn't get along with Al Davis, or because he was at USC when Reggie was doing his thing (since other than lack of oversight, there were next to no coaching or staff violations there), suggesting that he somehow has an actual history of cheating is just unsupportable.  Is he naive and arrogant?  Hell yes.  Would I want to have a beer with him?  Hell no.  But those aren't NCAA violations.

How anyone can even compare 18 phone calls to a coaches involvement in use of a vehicle, providing other transportation, and use of an apartment at LSU; or allowing dozens of hours of beyond allowable off-season training, IN THE FACE OF ACTIVE COMPLAINTS FROM THE PLAYERS, at Michigan; or multi-day, multi-hundred mile test drives of booster vehicles, and memorabilia for services all over town at Ohio State; to name 3 examples from dozens within just the last year or two, is myopia on the part of homer fans.

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:32 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

why did usc hire this noob?  stupid.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:47 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

I know the athletes are not paid, but the NCAA is the ones who lack "institutional control" over carpet bagging coaches. Coaches need to be fined or suspended (even if they mosve to another school) and delt with harshly.
The NCAA loves to slap players around who violate rules, but only give schools and coaches minor fines and pentalties. 
Someday someone is going to sue the NCAA and bring that whole house of cards to it's knees. 
Last I knew if you were 18 years old you could seek employment in this country... why do the NFL & NBA make players go to school or sit out ? Because they are greasing the NCAA.    

Since: Feb 24, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:25 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Mabe not that bad but not good either.  Lane Kiffin had to be the worst hire in the history of Tennessee sports.  His hiring was a great example of the old adage adage "the devil you know is better than the one you don't know".  Phil Fulmer did a lousy job the last two or three years he coached the Volunteers mainly (in my opinon) due to distractions (the feud, complete with litigation, with Alabama) and plain old mental fatigue from the constant grind from coaching a big time college football team tjhese days.  I only hope that USC, who should have known all about Kiffen's many shortcomings, gets what they deserve from hiring him.  

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:11 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

I think you miss the point MJBX, he hired Kiffin and Pearl.  Pearl at least had some success.  Kiffin was a dumpster fire.  Both have brought the ire of the NCAA.  I would say hiring Kiffin spells a lot more trouble for Hamilton's job.   The NCAA originally wanted to bring more serious allegations in football too, but Kiffin's decision to disregard the instructions of UT's compliance officers mean he will shoulder a lot of the load that was going to be placed on the school.  If Kiffin had not left UT we would be in an unimaginably worse situation.  I think Kiffin would have been much worse off too because no school would touch him.   There is no evidence that Hamilton has covered for Pearl in any way similar to Garrett and Carroll.  You are on drugs if you think they are the same.  Pearl lied, Carroll paid players.  Which can you stop as an AD?

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:02 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

The only thing SC did right was fire their idiot AD.  In that area, Tennessee should definitely follow suit.
Hamilton hired Lane Kiffin. But Kiffin was only in Knoxville a year, so that's the least of Tennessee's issues.  What is more important, and what should be more important to the NCAA, is that Hamilton hired Bruce Pearl, who has been there quite awhile now, and Hamilton continues to cover for Pearl and enable Pearl just like Mike Garrett enabled Carroll at USC.

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