Tennessee Coach’s Congrats an NCAA Violation

Andy Berg Headshot

Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt may have shown just a little too much pride in his high school alma mater earlier this year.

According to ESPN, Pruitt committed a minor NCAA violation after he tweeted congratulations to the high school he attended after it won an Alabama state basketball title.

"Congratulations Robi Coker and Plainview High School on back to back State Championships! #2muchblue #PLV," Pruitt tweeted on March 1.

Pruitt was alerted to the error, as his tweet was deleted less than an hour later after a compliance official noted that it constituted an impermissible endorsement of a high school team and its coach. 

ESPN reports that 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.

The incident was one of three football-related Level III violations that Tennessee self-reported in the first six months of 2019. 

"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.''

Tennessee also reported a non-coaching staff member drove the family members of a recruit beyond the 30-mile radius of campus where contact is permitted. The school also reported having three non-coaching staff members conduct an offseason conditioning session.

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