UT gets notice of allegations

The University of Tennessee has confirmed receipt of a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding rules violations in the Vol football and basketball programs. The contents of that Notice follows, along with responses from UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, athletics director Mike Hamilton and basketball coach Bruce Pearl:

The University of Tennessee yesterday received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding the school's men's basketball and football programs.

This Notice results from a 22-month investigation by the NCAA and the University of Tennessee in response to reports of alleged violations reported by the University and from external sources. The University and its Athletics Department have cooperated fully with the NCAA in this matter, and the receipt of the Notice of Allegations signifies the end of the initial review and fact-finding period.

While an examination into potential rules violations by the University of Tennessee baseball program was referenced in the initial Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA, there are no alleged violations by the baseball program listed in this Notice.

The Notice contains the following allegations of violation of NCAA rules against the men's basketball program:

¦ Impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes resulting from a cumulative total of 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period (Aug. 1, 2007 through July 29, 2009).

¦ By the head men's basketball coach: impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes during an unofficial visit, acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches within the men's basketball program.

¦ By the head men's basketball coach and associate head coach: impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete at his high school.

¦ By the three members of the men's basketball assistant coaching staff: failure to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation.

The notice contains the following allegations of violation of NCAA rules against the football program:

¦ By former members of the football coaching staff: impermissible telephone contact (16 total calls) with prospective student-athletes from Jan. 3-9, 2010.

¦ By a former assistant football coach: allegations relating to impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes.

¦ By a former head football coach: failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches have also been made against a former head football coach, and permitting a football recruiting intern to make impermissible contact with high school staff during a recruiting visit.

Additionally, the University is alleged to have failed to monitor the men's basketball coaching staff's telephone contacts with prospective student-athletes and their relatives in order to ensure compliance with NCAA telephone contact legislation (from Aug. 1, 2007 - July 29, 2009). The University has a deadline of May 21, 2011 to formulate and submit a response to this Notice of Allegations to the NCAA. It is anticipated that the University's appearance before the Committee on Infractions will be during the committee's meeting on June 10-11, 2011.

Because the University and Athletic Department are now in the response phase of this process, there will be no further public comments regarding this matter by any University official until this process is complete.

Statement from University of Tennessee, Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek:

"Any allegation from the NCAA is a serious matter for us, and we will address these issues in a timely manner. As an institution, we have been proactive in dealing with these allegations, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA."

Statement from University of Tennessee Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton:

"Receipt of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations by the University of Tennessee is another step in bringing this matter to conclusion. Our institution has operated in complete cooperation with the NCAA since April 2009 as they have pursued their investigation.

"We take these allegations seriously and most items noted in this document have already been reported broadly. I would like to thank the NCAA enforcement staff for their professionalism and guidance during this process."

Statement from Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl:

"The receipt of today's notice brings us one step closer to a final resolution in this matter. Throughout this process, we have recognized that we made significant mistakes, and we look forward to concluding this matter with the NCAA.

"The penalties imposed on our program to date have been severe, but I want to commend our student-athletes and staff for staying focused and working through these potential distractions. The support of our fans and administration has been amazing and appreciated by me and my entire family, and reminds me every day why I have the best job in the nation. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the University of Tennessee, and everyone in our basketball program is focused on finding ways to improve every day."

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