Vols staff made over 100 excessive calls
The Tennessee basketball program has reported several NCAA violations committed under coach Bruce Pearl, including nearly 100 excessive phone calls to recruits and permitting families of recruits to stay longer than allowed by the NCAA when visiting Knoxville.
In memos from Tennessee to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, Tennessee cited poor record keeping, miscommunication and carelessness in documenting the number of phone calls made to 10 recruits. The impermissible phone calls are part of an NCAA investigation into recruiting practices by Tennessee’s basketball and football programs.
The documents were first obtained by ESPN.
The recruits mentioned in the memos included Elliot Williams, who played at Duke and Memphis; Kansas’ Josh Selby; Florida State’s Chris Singleton; Ohio State’s Aaron Craft; Xavier’s Justin Martin and Griffin McKenzie; and Rico Pickett, who signed with Alabama but now plays professionally in Europe.
Names of current Tennessee players involved were redacted from the documents.
Tennessee also acknowledged assistant coach Jason Shay approved the lodging expenses for the families of three recruits who stayed in Knoxville for their official visits longer than the 48 hours allowed by the NCAA.
Tennessee athletic department officials have repeatedly declined comment about the ongoing NCAA investigation.
According to documents dating from April to July, Tennessee punished itself by reducing the number of days coaches could recruit from 130 to 104 and their number of official visits from 12 to eight and by banning associate head coach Tony Jones from making recruiting calls for three months and Pearl from making calls for nine days.
Tennessee more severely punished the coaches after Pearl admitted giving incorrect and misleading information when he was asked by NCAA officials during an interview about a photo of him and Craft taken when the recruit was a high school junior. Prospects aren’t allowed to meet with coaches away from campus as juniors.
Hamilton has docked Pearl’s pay by $1.5 million over five years and prohibiting him from participating in off-campus recruiting for a year beginning Sept 24. Pearl’s three assistants also had their pay reduced and cannot participate in off-campus recruiting for periods varying from three months to a year.
Pearl told Sports Illustrated during a coaching clinic in Long Island, N.Y., on Sunday that he’s embarrassed and should be made an example of.
”But I hope that the things we did don’t rise to the level of termination, because we run a clean program,” he said. ”We got investigated in a lot of areas.”