NCAA piles on penalties linked to Kiffin-era

By: Press Release
By: Press Release

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The NCAA Committee on Infractions slapped the University of Tennessee with even more penalties linked to major infractions by Willie Mack Garza, an assistant coach under Lane Kiffin in 2009. It also extended the University's probation period by two years.

University administrators met with the committee last month for an expedited penalty hearing based on a summary disposition report.

"We will finally close the chapter on the prior actions of members of a previous football coaching staff," said Dave Hart, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics.

"We have significantly strengthened our culture of compliance at Tennessee and will continue to do so. We disagree with additional penalties for a matter we believed should have been part of the previous case. We will now move forward."

Additional penalties include a reduction of the number of official campus visits, a reduced amount of evaluation days in the already completed Spring 2012 evaluation period and during unofficial visits in the fall of next year. Also, the university can not give prospective student-athletes free tickets for the first two conference games of the year.

The penalties are connected to a 2009 incident in which Garza paid for a prospect's unofficial visit and then lied about it to Enforcement staff after he left UT for the University of Southern California.

"The University of Tennessee worked in full cooperation with the NCAA throughout this process," said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. "We were disappointed with the initial penalties and appealed on two occasions, in writing and at the hearing in Florida. Although we disagree with the additional penalties, we accept the decision of the Committee. I am proud of the stronger compliance structure we have instituted at the University of Tennessee."

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