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 27, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:45 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

It is spelled Go. No such word in any language as geaux. You're right the best thing about LSU is the 11 national championships, 7 Heisman Trophy winners, 32 Rose Bowl championships and overall 114 national championships in all sports.

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:26 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Hey SC fans, what bowl will you be in next season?  Let's hold off with the 'irrelevant' tag, since you're currently in NCAA jail and you have a coach with a losing record.  Thanks for taking him off our hands, I never liked the guy anyway.

LOL at the 5th ranked recruiting class...I bet you think that was all done by the book, right?  Maybe that #5 ranking will only cost you one season of bowl eligibility in the future.

The only thing SC did right was fire their idiot AD.  In that area, Tennessee should definitely follow suit.

Since: Nov 8, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:22 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

At some point Vols fans will realize how good they had it with Lane Kiffin.  That golded year is behind them. Now I only hope that it doesn't take two full decades of losing seasons and sleeping next to this lady

for them to wake up and accept their place in this world.

Good day!

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:16 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

I would take a year's suspension for Pearl in a heartbeat.  In a heartbeat!  Hate the fact that he lied, but he's no more crooked than the coaches Kentucky keeps hiring.

Since: Nov 8, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 1:18 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Good job to Lane Kiffin for leaving Tennessee when he did.  Staying there any longer would have only increased his chances of getting implicated in some shady back-ally business practice concocted by that school's administration or alumni base.  If you hang out in a dog park long enough you are bound to step in something.

And did I mention my girlfriend is smoking hot and it's 75 and sunny in Los Angeles today?  Another top ten recruiting class and the Trojans are on the brink of another decade of dominance.  Now I think I'll give the NCAA a call and see what they can do about these pesky sanctions...

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:56 pm

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

Dear Lord I surely hope that USCw can win at least 9 games the upcoming year.  The WAC 10 was already on par with the Big East in elite teams.  It just nosedived further with bringing in a bottom feeder from the Big 12 (CU) and the freakin' Utes from the Mountain West!?  That would be like the SEC bringing in Kansas and Air Force.  The Left Coast's silly little football conference is already a laughing stock to real football fans and bringing in more weakings is somehow supposed to frighten the other conferences?  I can hear the Big 11 boys shaking in their snow-boots!?!?

Oregon is by far and away the only legitimate football entity you posess and even then they are a cute, gimmicky little team.  LSU will bludgeon them in the JerryDome and any reputable college football fan knows it!  Then the WAC 12 will incur the usual parody with random late night games on Versus that offer no reasonable interest...well except for those in Vegas. 


Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:58 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

haha ejr you are a clown normally i don't get involved in these pissing contests but TN is still above USC on winningest program list at #9.  i honestly don't care about the NC thing because a lot of claimed NCs are very questionable for most schools.  You guys act like 4 other teams don't have NCs for most of those years (even one of the ones you claim in the BCS era is an AP only title).  I would point out that the number will only be 10 soon. this is really all beside the point though.  I would not say either of our programs are irrelevant but it is ridiculous for you to cast accusations about us based on the rough patch we have been and are facing.  You have not even felt the effects of a scholarship reduction yet and it looks like you may not be the only team in your conference anymore so I would limit the chest puffing

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:48 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

ha i think you misunderstand business law.  you are not ALWAYS on the hook for what your employees do.  in most cases yes, but it is not strict liability.   I totally agree that UT needs to face some sort of penalty for hiring this idiot, but I am glad that they are going to go after him too.  I mean there is only so much the school can do, and it appears they did that.   Kiffin knowingly violated these rules after being told not to by the school.  In my opinion he is much more at fault in that situation.

Pearl lied to the NCAA, his violations were only secondary.  How do you propose that a school make sure he not lie to the NCAA, can the school read his mind before he speaks?   Anything even close to lack of institutional control would be an absolute travesty in this scenario.  Yes we are facing penalties in 2 sports but that is not what "lack of institutional control" means or requires.   Please use some common sense or don't and prove you are an idiot, whichever.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:29 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

This may be the NCAA's attempt to atone, adjust and adapt after their USC sanctions.  There was a great outcry at the time that USC was being punished for deeds done by people who had already left the institution (Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush).  Since Kiffin has left Tennessee, maybe the NCAA is giving UT a break.

Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:23 am

It doesn't look that bad for Tennessee

I totally agree with you Alazarrulz and I almost never agree with a Tennessee fan. BTW I live in Collierville, Tennessee and listen to several sports talk radio shows so all of the anti-Lane Kiffin talk has been a topic of discussion for months. The thing is it is well deserved. It is about time the NCAA goes after the coaches who do the crime. It is outrageous that a coach commits these infractions and the school is left holding the proverbial penalties bag. Enough already. Coaches get fired for infractions and managed to get rehired somewhere else. The fact that Lane Kiffin chose to blatantly and knowingly violate the rules should warrant some kind of punishment for him. Ignorance is no excuse but when you do know and do it anyway you shouldnt be allowed to just get away with it much less leave The University of Tennessee subject to penalties from infractions which should have never happened to begin with. Good for USC you deserve him. How someone with his pathetic resume keeps getting hired is beyond me. Make no mistake though your day is coming. He has total disregard for the rules at UT so what makes you think the same thing wont happen at USC...again?






I would be ok with that but since USC has a new Pres, AD, Coach and especially new kids that are being punished for something an entire different crew  soposably did would make your comment Irrelevant.

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