Those cheating Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee’s arrogance will hurt it with the NCAA

What did Alabama and USC have in common?

Both behaved arrogantly in dealing with the NCAA. Both failed to foster an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA doesn’t like arrogance. The sanctions that hammered USC should warn schools, but Tennessee hasn’t learned from the example.

Today the Tennessee Volunteers attempted to throw a former coach under the bus for the HOstessgate scandal. According to reports in the Knoxville paper, “The NCAA investigation into the Tennessee football program involves former quarterbacks coach David Reaves not alerting the school to an improper contact with recruits, which could result in a major violation.” (I’ve warned UT fans about this since December 2009. I was mocked. Who is laughing now? I warned this could create a charge of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control.)

How convenient. It was all the coach’s fault. Compliance didn’t mess up.

This is the entire thrust of Tennessee’s defense. The coaches did it, and not our excellent compliance staff. This is a transparent excuse. It won’t work because the school is responsible for compliance.

This follows on Tennessee’s effort to “punish” its basketball coach for lying to the NCAA. The University and basketball coach Bruce Pearl held a press conference where Pearl admitted to misleading the NCAA, and the school announced penalties on the coach. These penalties included recruiting restrictions and a salary reduction.

Trying to act butch today isn’t going to convince the NCAA that you’ve been tough on compliance all along. In fact, these attempts make a mockery of compliance. These attempts show Tennessee isn’t serious about the violations in its football program.

And that has been the culture at the University of Tennessee under Mike Hamilton.

He hired a walking NCAA rules violation in Lane Kiffin.

If Tennessee wants to convince the NCAA it is serious about compliance it should fire Pearl, fire Hamilton and offer serious scholarship reductions in football. Anything less makes the school look as arrogant as USC or Alabama.

And that should worry Volunteer fans.