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Tennessee Fires Jeremy Pruitt And Staff Members For Cause

Jan 16, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (5) brings the ball up court against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Pruitt has been fired. The University of Tennessee has fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt as the investigation into NCAA infractions continued over the past two months.

Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman was shocked by the magnitude of these infractions.

“What is so disturbing, as demonstrated by the scope of these actions, is the number of violations and people involved and their efforts to conceal their activities from our compliance staff and from the Athletic department’s leaders,”

When asked about a potential buyout for Jeremy Pruitt, Plowman was quick to shoot that down.

“Our termination was for cause; there will be no buyout.”

The Chancellor was also asked about the severity of these allegations.

“Our council has told us we are looking at multiple level 1 and level 2 violations”.

The Vols went 3-7 this past season, with four of the losses coming by three touchdowns or more.

The investigation began back in November, as we first reported on December 19th. The Vols were accused of NCAA violations about impermissible benefits and recruiting violations.

Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t getting out of these allegations without a price. As we reported again on December 19th, multiple staffers inside the Tennessee football building had been questioned and were involved in the investigation. According to sources, multiple Tennessee staffers have been fired, including some in the recruiting department.

Donde Plowman also made it clear that no one outside of the football program was involved in the allegations.

“It was stunning the number of people involved and the number of incidents.”

The University of Tennessee announced that assistant coaches Brian Niedermeyer and Shelton Felton were fired for cause. The University also announced that the Director of Recruiting was fired, along with her staff. The director and assistant director of football player personnel were also fired, along with a football analyst. A total of 10 members of the Tennessee football staff were fired on Monday.

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In our previous article last week, according to multiple sources, attorneys had been interviewing people inside the program over the two months of the investigation. Those interviews were also held last week, involving Jeremy Pruitt, as they looked deeper into alleged improprieties.

Just one part of the investigation that lawyers were looking into involves the use of local hotels regarding the recruitment of potential student-athletes during unofficial visits over the course of the last few years. Several members of Tennessee’s recruiting department were questioned concerning these matters and more. Those staffers have since been fired.

Another part of the investigation is the activity of a recruiting staffer who worked for assistant coaches, including ILB coach Brian Niedermeyer inside the football program and if he was involved in NCAA recruiting violations involving potential recruits, including Amarius Mims, an offensive lineman who signed with Georgia last month.

The recruiting department and staff members let go today, along with Pruitt, were involved in many other allegations revolving around the football program. These allegations include impermissible benefits to prospective recruits and the recruiting practices of the staff members fired today. As we alluded to in December, these allegations are serious, as what was shown on Monday afternoon.

Chancellor Donde Plowman had this to say about the impact this will have on current and potential student athletes.

“Despite a strong compliance culture in our athletic department, we must look for ways to further strengthen our processes. We deeply regret the impact this may have on our many student-athletes, particularly the vast majority of our football players who have had no involvement in this matter at all.”

The findings of the investigation will continue to come out over the next few weeks, as Tennessee looks to mitigate any harmful damage on the program.

The University will also be in search of a new Athletics Director as Phillip Fulmer plans to retire.

“I was happy to step into the athletic director role when my university called. When I began this role three years ago, I told the administration I would stay for a few years to provide stability. Unfortunately, the unexpected need to hire a new head football coach has accelerated the succession plan the Chancellor and I have been discussing.”

Phillip Fulmer will retire from Tennessee after serving just over three years as the Athletic Director.

“Our next football coach needs to be on the sidelines for 10 years or more, and he will need to know who his athletic director will be for the duration. It only makes sense that I make this move now, so a new coach and a new athletic director can implement their vision together. My only desire is to do whatever it takes to give Tennessee the best opportunity to succeed.”

Tennessee has taken a major step back today but made decisions that were beneficial for their future. The problems that Jeremy Pruitt and his staff have put upon Tennessee will be felt for multiple years to come; there’s no easy way to put it. The devastation that Donde Plowman had on her face today is a sign of things to come.

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