Kiffin receives word of NCAA allegations

USC received a notice of allegations from the NCAA on Wednesday concerning coach Lane Kiffin’s 14-month tenure at the University of Tennessee.

After a 22-month investigation into the Volunteers’ football and men’s basketball programs, the NCAA cited Kiffin for a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance, a failure to monitor and impermissible recruiting activities.

“We have received from the NCAA a notice of allegations against Lane Kiffin pertaining to his tenure as the head football coach at Tennessee,” said USC athletic director Pat Haden in a statement. “The NCAA enforcement process provides for Tennessee and Lane to address those charges. Until that process is completed, it would be unfair and premature for me or USC to comment on this matter.”

Kiffin, as well as Tennessee, has 90 days to respond to the allegations before the hearing with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, which is scheduled for June 10 and 11 in Indianapolis.

According to a 26-page document released by Tennessee, Kiffin and his Volunteers coaching staff failed “to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the football program and [failed] to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant football coaches.” One of those coaches might be current USC recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron.

From Jan. 3 through Jan. 9, 2010, Kiffin and his staff made impermissible telephone contact with five recruits — a total of 16 calls spanning 47 minutes.

Additionally, Kiffin allowed a recruiting intern, Steve Rubio, to accompany him on a recruiting trip to St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., despite forewarning from the school’s football operations department.

On that trip, Rubio allegedly made “in-person, off-campus contact with high school administrators,” which, since he was an intern and a non-authorized off-campus recruiter, is a violation of NCAA rules.

“This trip and these contacts occurred after David Blackburn, the institution’s director of football operations, informed both Kiffin and Rubio on or about Oct. 10, 2009, that Rubio was not permitted to enter a high school’s property while accompanying a football coach on a recruiting trip,” the NCAA said.

Rubio, however, is an alum of the high school.

“We have received the notice of allegations,” Kiffin said in a statement. “On the advice of my legal counsel, we cannot comment other than to say we look forward to working through the process with the NCAA.”

In spite of the allegations, Haden’s support of Kiffin has not wavered in the slightest.

“Since his return to USC last year as our head football coach, Lane has been vigilant in making sure he and the football program follow the NCAA’s rules and compete the right way,” Haden said. “Lane has my support as our head football coach.”