Internal investigation reportedly results in no buyout for Jeremy Pruitt, Phil Fulmer out as AD
Tennessee’s athletics department is in the middle of a house cleaning with reports on Monday that the school has fired coach Jeremy Pruitt for cause, and athletics director Phillip Fulmer is retiring following an internal investigation.
Pruitt was fired for cause Monday for alleged NCAA violations under his watch, according to a report from the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which cited sources with knowledge of the situation. That means the university will not pay his buyout. Pruitt coached the Vols for three seasons and leaves behind a program that is under investigation for alleged NCAA rules violations.
Pruitt’s contract includes more than 30 fire-for-cause provisions, including if he engaged in conduct likely to result in an NCAA finding of a Level I or Level II rules violation, or if someone who reports to Pruitt engaged in conduct that constitutes a Level I or II violation or is likely to result in such a violation and the university determines Pruitt was negligent in his oversight or lacked reasonable preventative compliance measures.
Fulmer, who hired Pruitt, will retire after UT hires an AD to replace him, because he wants his successor to choose the next football coach. Fulmer made the decision to step down, and his departure is not tied to the investigation.
About four months ago, Tennessee gave Pruitt a contract extension that included a raise beginning this year and an increased buyout. He was under contract through Jan. 31, 2026.
Pruitt was 16-19 on Rocky Top, including a 3-7 mark in 2020 against a conference-only schedule.