TN AG Had Hand In Saving UT From NCAA Postseason Ban
Friday the NCAA handed down its penalty on the University of Tennessee for infractions committed by formere head football coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff. Pruitt was given a six year show caiuse order, which means that any university wanting to hire Pruitt for any athletic related position will have to get permission from the NCAA first before making that hire, and if Pruitt were hired, he would then face a 100% suspension of the first year of his employment. Several members of Pruitt’s staff were also given multi-year show cause penalties.
The university was put on probation for five years and lost 28 scholarships over the next five years. The NCAA also handed down $8 million in fines against UT. But, the one thing that the NCAA did not do was bar Tennessee football from postseason play. The university may have a Tennessee government official to thank for that. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says that he threatened the NCAA with legal action if the NCAA banned UT from post-season play. Skrmetti cited a new law in Tennessee that deals with college athletes and the new NIL policy. The state law that Skrmetti was eluding to was amended in 2022 and it basically states that college athletes cannot be punished for violations that they did not commit. Skrmetti told the NCAA in the letter he sent to them in March that it is unfair to punish the current team and players for infractions made by the previous coaching administration. Skrmmetti also pointed out in his letter that Tennessee state law supersedes NCAA laws. Skrmetti’s office says the attorney general was ready for a fight, but that legal battle will not happen as the NCAA shied away from a postseason ban for UT football.