The Tennessee Vols received their notice of allegations (in regards to the Jeremy Pruitt recruiting investigation) from the NCAA on Friday afternoon.
Tennessee is alleged by the NCAA to have committed numerous violations, which you can read about here.
The good news for the Vols is that the program wasn’t hit with a “lack of institutional control” penalty, which means they should escape major sanctions from the NCAA.
Additionally, the report shows that Tennessee was more than justified in firing Pruitt with cause. Pruitt committed many of the violations himself.
For whatever reason, Friday’s news led to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde writing a scathing column about the UT fan base that includes this headline and subheadline:
Tennessee Fans Got Their Way. Now the Chickens Have Fully Come Home to Roost.The fan tantrum of 2017 led to the Vols’ Jeremy Pruitt debacle, and a new notice of allegations reveals the full extent of damage.
Here’s a snippet from the column that will surely infuriate Vols fans:
The final bill is coming due on the fan tantrum that led to the firing of AD John Currie, the hiring of Phillip Fulmer to replace him, and the subsequent decision to bring aboard Jeremy Pruitt as the football coach. And the cost keeps going up. The bottom line: a 16–19 record (which will get worse after the Vols vacate victories) and a whopping 18 NCAA Level I violations levied in a notice of allegations that was delivered Friday.
Good job, good effort. You listen to a fanboy media grifter’s bright ideas on how to run a football program, this is where it leads you nearly five years later.
You disrupted the attempted hire of Greg Schiano, trumping up a dishonest moral outrage. The real issue was whether Schiano could win in the SEC, not what he knew or didn’t know about the monster Jerry Sandusky while on staff at Penn State. You get your way, which only adds to the power trip.
I’ve read a lot of nonsense on the internet, but this might be among the top five dumbest things my eyes have seen after opening my internet browser.
Why is Forde bringing up Greg Schiano at all? That was five years ago. And look, I think 99 percent of Tennessee fans would go through that same fan revolt again. Schiano would’ve been a terrible fit at Tennessee. He’s Butch Jones part II — an insecure coach who relies heavily on outdated clichés and would’ve been a bad cultural fit. Schiano should’ve never been on the Vols’ shortlist of options to replace Jones. That was a major misstep by former UT athletic director John Currie.
But again, that was five years ago. How is that even close to being relevant to the news that dropped Friday?
Forde and Schiano must be buddies. That’s the only reason that he’d continue to argue in Schiano’s favor nearly five years later. There’s no other explanation for why a shock-jock type columnist would continue to go out of his way to praise a mediocre coach who has arguably been a bigger coaching disaster than Pruitt (Schiano’s time as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach was ripe with controversy).
What Forde doesn’t seem to realize is that Tennessee is in a better place because of this investigation. The program needed a hard reset. And it got one via this investigation. The Vols were able to move on from Pruitt without paying his buyout and they hired one of the best athletic directors in the nation in Danny White. That decision led to the hiring of Josh Heupel, who just led the Vols to one of their best offensive seasons in program history.
Schiano, meanwhile, led Rutgers to a 5-8 record last year. The Scarlet Knights had the No. 120 scoring offense in the nation and the No. 56 scoring defense in the nation (isn’t Schiano supposed to be a “defensive guy”?).
If the Vols would’ve hired Schiano back in 2017, the program would’ve ended up in the same place in 2020. I don’t know if there would’ve been a recruiting investigation, but the on-field product would’ve been terrible (again Schiano is 76-81 as a head coach in college and 11-21 as an NFL head coach…he’s not a winner).
Forde is the definition of petulant. He’s nothing more than a moody keyboard warrior masquerading as a journalist. The entire college sports world deserves better than Pat Forde columns.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports