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Report: Tennessee Investigating Its Football Program for Recruiting Violations

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2020

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt watches during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Randy Sartin/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)
Randy Sartin/Associated Press

The University of Tennessee is investigating its football program for "alleged recruiting violations and alleged impermissible benefits to athletes," according to Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"Anytime in college football or college athletics, you have typical compliance stuff," head coach Jeremy Pruitt said of the investigation after Saturday's 34-13 loss to Texas A&M. "That is all I know."

Pruitt had not been interviewed as of Sunday for the investigation, though "football assistant coaches, athletes and support staffers" were interviewed. 

Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported Saturday that the recruitment of Amarius Mims—the No. 7 player in the Class of 2021 and the No. 3 offensive tackle, per 247Sports.com—was a part of the investigation. Mims ultimately signed with Georgia, though Tennessee was a finalist. 

Additionally, sophomore running back Eric Gray was held out of Saturday's game vs. Texas A&M, with Schlabach reporting it was related to the compliance department inquiry.

"He was unavailable," Pruitt said when asked why Gray didn't play.

"In keeping with our institutional commitment to compliance, we often look closely at regulatory issues that are brought to our attention via internal or external channels," Tom Satkowiak, Tennessee's athletic department spokesperson, said in a statement over the weekend. "Maintaining compliance is a shared responsibility, and active monitoring is part of that process."

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The Volunteers went 3-7 in Pruitt's third season as head coach. He is now 16-19 at the helm for the Vols. .

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