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Jeremy Pruitt paid a player’s mother several hundred dollars in a Chick-fil-A bag while serving as football coach at Tennessee, according to a Knoxville News Sentinel report.
The news was one of several revelations in a 108-page response from the school to an NCAA notice of allegations obtained by the media outlet Thursday.
Pruitt admitted to giving the player’s mother $300 or $400 in the fast food bag after she asked for money during a meeting on campus in August 2020, according to the News Sentinel. The ex-Vols coach told NCAA investigators, “it was the human thing, the right thing to do” in a March 2022 interview.
Also revealed in the response document to the NCAA is the allegation that Pruitt’s babysitter delivered money to a player’s mother for car payments, the News Sentinel reported. The initial statement of allegations from the NCAA alleged in July that Pruitt, his staff and his wife provided nearly $60,000 in cash and gifts to players and their families during his tenure in Knoxville.
In the response document, the school denies that it failed to provide oversight of the program while recruited violations transpired on Pruitt’s watch. The school alleges that Pruitt, his staff and his wife concealed their wrongdoing despite the school’s best efforts to follow NCAA rules, per the News Sentinel.
“Despite the University’s monitoring efforts, athletics administrators and athletics compliance staffmembers were repeatedly deceived by the football program,” the school said in the response to the NCAA, per the News Sentinel. “The University respectfully submits that it is unrealistic to expect an institution to prevent, or immediately detect, the intentional and concealed misconduct that occurred in this case.”
Pruitt, who served as Alabama defensive coordinator prior to being hired at Tennessee, compiled a 16–19 record in three seasons at the helm for the Vols.
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For more Tennessee coverage, visit Volunteer Country.