Kiffin Steps in It in Knoxville

Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin may or may not improve on Phillip Fulmer's won/loss record on Rocky Top but he has far surpassed his predecessor in arrogance and obnoxiousness. The 32-year-old Kiffin (aka: The Half Monty) publicly accused Florida's Urban Meyer of breaking an NCAA rule in the recruitment of Pahokee receiver Nu'keese Richardson.

Thursday morning Kiffin told a group of fans that Richardson's cell phone went off repeatedly on his visit to Knoxville and when he was asked who was calling, Richardson responded "Urban Meyer".

Kiffin told the gathering, "Just so you know when a recruit is on another campus you can't call him. I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."

First of all, according to Florida officials it is NOT against the rules to do that. Second, since Richardson lied about talking to Tennessee and lied about visiting Tennessee there was probably no way for Meyer to know where he was. Third, there's a big gap between a violation of this magnitude and "cheating".

For a first time coach who has yet to coach a game to call an eight-year coach with a clean record a "cheater" ranks with the most classless, asinine and unprofessional things I've ever seen or heard a coach do. IF a coach thinks another school is breaking the rules it's spelled out how they are expected to proceed. Kiffin should have first consulted his own compliance officer to make certain of the details and the applicable rules. Then it goes to his Athletic Director who determines if a call to the other school or conference office is in order.

Kiffin failed on all three counts and is almost certainly going to receive a reprimand from the SEC office. Commissioner Mike Slive has done a masterful guiding the league out of the NCAA doghouse and establishing a constructive, positive atmosphere within the league.

University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley issued the following statement on the matter:

"There was no rule violation and we have confirmed this with Southeastern Conference. It is obvious that Coach Kiffin doesn't know that there is not a rule precluding phone contact with a prospect during an official visit on another campus during a contact period. His allegations are inappropriate, out of line and, most importantly, totally false. It is completely unfair to Urban Meyer, our coaching staff, our football program and our institution. The appropriate action at this time in my opinion is for Coach Kiffin to make a public apology. His comments not only slandered our coach, but he violated SEC rules by publicly criticizing another coach and institution."

I understand that Kiffin is trying to juice up his fan base and convincing two kids who committed to the Gators to join him in that quest is something he can and should celebrate. But this is another example of why most believe he is not ready for a high profile job like Tennessee. Before long he'll probably have to apologize and try to pretend his words were misinterpreted. Chances are Meyer will have how own way of responding on September 19.

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