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What UT could be facing from an NCAA investigation

Plowman: This situation involves a significant number of NCAA rules violations
KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 18, 2021 - Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer, Chancellor Donde...
KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 18, 2021 - Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer, Chancellor Donde Plowman, and UT President Randy Boyd during a press conference in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics(Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics | Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 9:07 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Speculation of Jeremy Pruitt’s demise as UT’s head football coach had been running rampant in the weeks leading up to his firing. That speculation was confirmed Monday when UT Chancellor Donde Plowman announced that the coach had been let go after a significant number of NCAA rules violations had been found within his football program.

Aspects of the investigation continue. Also, Plowman revealed that the NCAA and the SEC have been sent the information that’s been discovered so far. In fact, the Southeastern Conference is already looking through it. The information, Plowman says, enabled the University to fire coach Pruitt with cause, a situation Volquest.com Editor Brent Hubbs discussed with WVLT News on Monday:

Here’s what UT could be facing amid the investigation:

NCAA VIOLATION STRUCTURE

The four-level violation structure ranges from severe breaches of conduct to incidental infractions. It is designed to focus on conduct breaches that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA Constitution and bylaws.

Level 1: Severe breach of conduct

Violations that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model as set forth in the Constitution and bylaws. Examples of a Level 1 breach of conduct include lack of institutional control, academic fraud and individuals deemed to have displayed unethical or dishonest conduct.

Level 2: Significant breach of conduct

Violations that provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage; includes more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive impermissible benefit. Examples include a failure to monitor and systemic violations which do not amount to a lack of institutional control.

Level 3: Breach of conduct

Violations that are isolated or limited in nature; provide no more than a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage; and do not include more than a minimal impermissible benefit.

Level 4: Incidental issues

Incidental infractions that are inadvertent and isolated, technical in nature and result in a negligible, if any, competitive advantage. Level-4 infractions generally will not affect eligibility for intercollegiate athletics.

School president Randy Boyd said at Monday’s news conference on campus, “Integrity starts at the top. We want to do things the right way and if you can’t win that way, you don’t belong here.” Chancellor Plowman let it be known that no allegations have been levied against retiring Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer.

Hours after the firing, Pruitt released a statement via lawyers and called the move an “orchestrated effort to renege on contractual promises.”

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