"I've done that at other schools and know coaches at other schools who've been doing it forever," Taylor told The Tennessean. "If I thought for one second that I was doing something illegal, I would have never done it."
Coaches may earn outside income by speaking at touchdown clubs or chamber of commerce meetings, but an outside source – Schledwitz in this case – may not pay or arrange to pay the staff member for an unspecified service.
"It's a procedural thing where we didn't take the proper steps to make sure what the function was," coach Phillip Fulmer told The Tennessean. "It was completely innocent, just a misinterpretation."
Taylor must donate the money he accepted to a charity. He will receive a letter of admonishment and Schledwitz will receive a letter of warning. The SEC is investigating the matter but no further penalties are expected to be forthcoming.
"We later found out that we didn't follow the letter of the law with it being pre-approved," Schledwitz told The Tennessean. "I apologize for any embarrassment it's caused. It was certainly an innocent mistake and has been rectified."