Knoxville News Sentinel
Published 10:23 PM EDT Jul 10, 2019
A tweet landed Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt a slap on the wrist.
Pruitt mentioned Plainville High School, his alma mater, in a congratulatory tweet from his verified account in March. Pruitt's tweet wasn't even directed to Plainview's football team. It was in response to the Plainview boys' basketball team repeating as state champions.
A Tennessee compliance department staff member saw the tweet and notified Pruitt and a football staff member responsible for social media that the tweet was an impermissible endorsement of a high school team and its coach.
The tweet was deleted 37 minutes after it was posted.
Tennessee's compliance office provided rules education to Pruitt and the social media staffer, and the SEC and NCAA took no further action.
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Pruitt's tweet was one of nine NCAA violations that Tennessee reported during the first six months of 2019. All were Level III violations, which are considered minor.
Tennessee's football program was responsible for three violations. Committing one violation apiece were swimming, men's tennis, men's track and field, softball, rowing and soccer.
"Congratulations Robi Coker and Plainview High School on back to back State Championships! #2muchblue #PLV," the tweet from Pruitt's account said.
Tennessee noted in its report that Pruitt violated NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52. It states that "an athletics department staff member shall not promote or endorse a prospective student-athlete's team or coach, or an athletics facility that is primarily used by prospective student-athletes."
If Pruitt liked, marked as a favorite or republished something on social media to indicate approval, that would not violate NCAA bylaws. But constructing his own tweet did.
Swimming's violation occurred when a team member paid the $12 bowling fees for a prospect during an unofficial visit. The prospect had to repay the $12, and the team received recruiting penalties.