KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt committed a minor NCAA violation earlier this year by tweeting out his congratulations when the high school he attended won an Alabama state basketball title.
Pruitt tweeted “Congratulations Robi Coker and Plainview High School on back to back State Championships! #2muchblue #PLV” on March 1. The tweet was deleted 37 minutes later, after a compliance official noted that it constituted an impermissible endorsement of a high school team and its coach. Compliance officials met with Pruitt and the staffer overseeing the football program’s Twitter accounts to discuss that particular rule, but that was the extent of any repercussions for his actions.
That was one of three football-related Level III violations Tennessee self-reported in the first six months of 2019. Tennessee also reported one Level III violation each in swimming, men’s tennis, track, softball, rowing and women’s soccer.
Details were obtained through a public records request.
“Level III violations are a byproduct of a healthy compliance program,” associate athletics director for compliance Andrew Donovan said in a statement. “There are thousands of NCAA rules and interpretations of those rules, so it is expected that inadvertent, minor violations may occur on occasion. We have a strong culture of compliance at the University of Tennessee. Our coaches and staff are fully committed to doing things the right way. They view compliance as a shared responsibility and hold themselves and each other accountable.”
The other football-related violations involved a non-coaching staffer driving family members of a recruit beyond the 30-mile radius of campus where contact is permitted and having three non-coaching staff members conduct an offseason conditioning session.
Tennessee officials said they initially arranged a car service for the recruit’s family before realizing he had eight siblings who couldn’t be left unattended while his mother visited campus. Tennessee instead had a non-coaching staffer drive the mother and siblings to and from their home, which was about 225 miles from Tennessee’s campus. School officials said no recruiting conversations occurred during the December trip.
The NCAA took away four recruiting evaluation days from Tennessee for that violation.