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Former Alabama players campaign “Free Jeremy Pruitt” with Tennessee under NCAA investigations

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The University of Tennessee is in trouble again with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Tennessee is under investigation for potential name, image, and likeness (NIL) across multiple sports, per reports. 

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According to a report from CBS Sports, this is the second time the Volunteers have been investigated for something of this magnitude in collegiate athletics. It could be seen as a repeat offender by the NCAA, which would bring on harsher penalties.

Tennessee was in this situation before under Jeremy Pruitt from 2018 to 2020.

Reports state that Pruitt and his staff provided $60,000 of impermissible benefits and recruiting inducements to more than two dozen recruits and their families in a three-year span. Pruitt was hit with a six-year show cause and is currently a physical education teacher and junior high boys’ basketball coach at Plainview High School.

Three players Pruitt coached for Alabama football don’t think he was the over-arching theme of the problems. Will Lowery, Nick Gentry, and Ryan Anderson all witness BCS National Championships with Pruitt.

Anderson was a star edge rusher on the Crimson Tide’s 2016 defense under Pruitt.

With the Vols under fire and Pruitt not there, Lowery, Gentry, and Anderson are campaigning “Free JP” to have him back reinstated for college football. Currently, a school would suffer a one-year suspension if it hired Pruitt for football.

We will see what happens moving forward, but Pruitt has former players in his corner.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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