Jeremy Pruitt was fired by Tennessee two seasons ago amid an investigation into recruiting violations, and there was one story that players were handed cash in fast food bags. Apparently there is some truth to those wild rumors.
Mike Wilson of the Knoxville News Sentinel obtained a copy of the 108-response Tennessee gave to the NCAA’s notice of allegations. The documents describe the scope and nature of the 18 Level 1 violations committed by Pruitt and his staff. In one instance, Pruitt handed the mother of a player a Chick-fil-A bag with $300 or $400 in it.
Pruitt admitted he gave the woman the money, telling investigators back in March “it was the human thing, the right thing to do.” The money was supposed to “assist with other expenses” after Pruitt had previously given the woman $3,000 to help her pay an outstanding medical bill.
The player’s family was allegedly given $12,707 in total during his recruitment and while he played at Tennessee. The woman told investigators that Pruitt gave her money so she could pay a delinquent medical bill that would allow her to schedule a hip surgery. Pruitt denied providing the $3,000. The names of both the player and his mother were redacted.
A report last year claimed Pruitt and his staff were “sloppy” about paying players and gave some of their money in McDonald’s bags. That may have stemmed from the Chick-fil-A bag story. Either way, it is not a good look for Pruitt.