Yeah, I’m a little late to the party on this one — so sue me, get a refund of your purchase price — but it seems as if Tennessee has found itself in a little bit of hot water with NCAA.
Specifically, the NCAA is looking into “recruiting hostesses” who are all the rage on the Knoxville campus — and in the areas where potential recruits are located.
The New York Times reports that the NCAA has talked to four Volunteer targets, and have plans to talk to at least two additional recruits.
Interviews with multiple recruits and their family members revealed that the N.C.A.A. has strong interest in Tennessee’s use of recruiting hostesses, students who are part of a formal group at the university that hosts all manner of prospective students at campus visits, including athletes. It is not clear whether the university sent the hostesses to visit the football players.
In one case, hostesses traveled nearly 200 miles to attend a high school game in South Carolina in which at least three Tennessee recruits were playing.
Marcus Lattimore, a running back who made an unofficial visit to Tennessee but said he would not enroll there, said multiple Tennessee hostesses attended a game at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C., in September. He said they brought signs, including one that read, “Come to Tennessee.”
“I haven’t seen no other schools do that,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
The hostesses are part of the school’s Orange Pride ambassador group and, as an official arm of the school, would not be permitted to help recruit away from the campus.
The father of one of the recruits questioned by the NCAA told the Times that the visits by the hostesses were not sanctioned or orchestrated by the Tennessee coaching staff.
UT released a statement on Wednesday addressing the Times article.
The University of Tennessee confirms that there is an NCAA review under way. University Administration and Athletics are cooperating fully.
We are concerned about the alleged activities of some members of the Orange Pride. Both university and NCAA guidelines are a part of the Orange Pride’s orientation and training. If those guidelines were violated, we will take appropriate action. Because of federal student privacy regulations, we can’t comment further.
Orange Pride is one of three student admissions groups that serve as ambassadors for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Orange Pride’s responsibilities include staffing university-wide admissions programs, providing campus tours, and hosting prospective athletes and their families. There are 75 students, both men and women, in the group. These ambassadors interact with hundreds of students across the campus.