One day last fall during a Tennessee in-season football practice, Phillip Fulmer just couldn’t help himself.
There were rumors on Rocky Top last fall that Tennessee’s athletic director had been attempting to coach up the Volunteers struggling offensive line and it turns out those rumors were at least slightly accurate, as Tennessee has self-reported three Level III NCAA violations, one of which involved the AD giving two linemen some coaching tips during practice.
News of these NCAA violations is being reported by Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Level III violations are the least severe, while Level I penalties (which some call Ole Miss penalties) are the most severe.
Fulmer is not permitted to do any coaching for the Volunteers, unless Jeremy Pruitt has an opening on his staff and notes Fulmer as a fill-in while Tennessee’s head coach searches for a 10th assistant. That wasn’t the case last fall, which is why Fulmer and Tennessee self-reported the infraction. Tennessee claims this was a one-time event which lasted less than 30 seconds.
Tennessee’s AD is permitted to attend all football practices but isn’t permitted to coach up any of the players during his time there. As punishment, the SEC ruled that Fulmer could not attend Tennessee practices for five days following the infraction.
The Tennessee program also self-reported two other violations, both Level III in nature, for recruiting violations. One occurred when a junior college prospect had an interaction with a coach on Tennessee’s campus before he was qualified to do so and another came when a member of the staff called the father of a recruit during a time before he was permitted to do so.
Tennessee has already been punished for these violations, and no other penalties will be enforced following these three Level III violations.