NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s first question at SEC Media Days wasn’t about the Rebels, but instead Tennessee football.
With the NCAA investigation wrapping up for Tennessee and the Vols avoiding a bowl ban, Kiffin was asked about what he though on Thursday.
“That didn’t take long,” Kiffin responded.
“I got a lot of thoughts on that case and the case at USC and the case at Tennessee and the penalties and all that. I’m not really going to get into that. We’re here to talk about the Ole Miss team. You know, happy for Coach Heupel. I read where he was ecstatic about the penalties and the $8 million fine. So that kind of probably tells you about how severe the penalties are in their eyes. I’m happy for them that they don’t have to go through what we went through. So good for them.”
Kiffin has a storied history with Tennessee and the NCAA. During his short tenure at Tennessee, Kiffin got himself in trouble with the NCAA.
Avoiding a show-cause penalty of his own, the NCAA used strong language to condemn Kiffin for making impermissible calls and visits to prospects.
The NCAA reported that Kiffin “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance of NCAA rules”. Kiffin and his is staff committed 12 secondary violations during just a year at Tennessee. Kiffin also used a recruit’s name, who had not signed yet, during a radio interview.
Kiffin also mentioned in his response that he is happy Tennessee avoided what he went through at USC, just over a decade ago.
The Vols dodged the harshest possible penalty of a postseason ban, largely because of their cooperation with the NCAA. Jeremy Pruitt, who was the head coach at the time of the recruiting violations, took the brunt of the punishment from the NCAA.
Pruitt was hit with a six-year show cause order from the NCAA, effectively ending his college coaching career. Several Tennessee assistants also were given show-cause orders from the NCAA as well.
Overall, the Vols escape with the ability to manage their NCAA punishment.