NCAA Investigating Tennessee Football's Use of Recruiting Hostesses

Dan Kelley@DanKelleyWritesCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 28:  Lane Kiffin the Head Coach of the Tennessee Volunteers looks on during the SEC game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The New York Times is reporting that the NCAA is conducting an investigation into the University of Tennessee football program's recruiting practices, including its use of recruiting hostesses to lure in high school prospects.

Officials have already visited four prospects and will speak to two more this week.

Recruiting violations have become a trend at Tennessee under head coach Lane Kiffin, with six minor violations previously confirmed since he arrived on campus. It looks like that total is about to rise.

Some high school prospects, including running back Marcus Lattimore from South Carolina, have acknowledged that hostesses are playing a role in Tennessee's recruiting. Lattimore said that some even traveled to watch him play and brought signs, including one that said "Come to Tennessee."

One of the top-rated recruits in the country last year, running back Bryce Brown, who committed to Tennessee and is a freshman there now, appears in a picture with one such hostess on a social networking site.

Tennessee's athletic director Mike Hamilton confirmed that an investigation is taking place, but would not comment further.

It's not really clear just how serious these allegations are right now, but the repeated recruiting violations at Tennessee are becoming a disturbing trend.

Lane Kiffin has been stepping over lines ever since he arrived and it may be just a matter of time before the NCAA comes down hard on the Volunteers.

If anything major comes of this, the Lane Kiffin experiment may come to a much quicker conclusion than anyone would have expected.