Kiffin escapes punishment from NCAA
Any lasting ties between USC coach Lane Kiffin and the University of Tennessee are now gone.
The NCAA has notified USC that coach Lane Kiffin did not commit any major violations during his 14-month stint as coach at the University of Tennessee, the school announced Wednesday.
Kiffin had previously received a notice of allegations from the NCAA on Feb. 23, which included a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance, a failure to monitor and impermissible recruiting activities â the former two being major infractions.
âIâm very grateful to the NCAA, the Committee on Infractions and its chairman Dennis Thomas for a very fair and thorough process,â Kiffin said in a statement. âIâm also very grateful that we were able to accurately and fairly present the facts in our case and that no action was taken against us. Iâm pleased that the NCAA based its decision on the facts and not on perception.â
Thomas, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioner, chaired the committee and ultimately found the evidence was âinsufficientâ to support any of the findings.
Though he was not disciplined following the two-year investigation, the COI did find the Tennessee football program, under Kiffin, had committed 12 secondary violations in 10 months, all of which pertained to recruiting.
âThe committee was troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions by the football coaching staff during its one-year tenure at the institution,â the report said.
Kiffin, who served as coach of the Volunteers from November 2008 to January 2010, was nonetheless admonished by the committee.
âSome of the violations received nationwide publicity and brought the football program into public controversy,â the report read. âThis is not a record of which to be proud.â
Former Tennessee menâs basketball coach, who was also cited by the NCAA, did, however, receive a three-year show-cause penalty, prohibiting him from recruiting for three years and forcing schools to âshow causeâ if they wish to hire him.
Kiffin and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden appeared at an NCAA hearing for the case in Indianapolis on June 11, sitting before the infractions committee for more than four hours.
âWe obviously were pleased to learn about the NCAAâs ruling today regarding Lane Kiffin,â Haden said in a statement. âI appeared at Laneâs NCAA hearing, and I believe the NCAAâs decision is fair and based on the facts presented.â
The initial charges stemmed from impermissible telephone contact Kiffin and his staff made in 2010 with five recruits between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9 â a total of 16 calls spanning 47 minutes, according to a 26-page document released by Tennessee in late February.
Kiffin also 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 schoolâs department of football operations.
On that trip, Rubio allegedly made âin-person, off-campus contact with high school administrators,â violating NCAA rules as an intern and a non-authorized off-campus recruiter.
âIâm also very grateful that the Tennessee football program was cleared of any wrongdoing,â Kiffin said.
Kiffin is not expected to be subject to any further discipline.
âIâm glad this is behind us now and I know Lane feels the same way,â Haden said. âFrom the time he arrived at USC, Lane Kiffin has been extremely compliant regarding NCAA rules and I feel confident that he will continue to be so.â
Kiffin expressed similar sentiments.
âAs I have said before, we always have been committed to following NCAA rules and bylaws both at Tennessee and now at USC, and we always will be,â Kiffin said. âNow that this has reached its conclusion, I am looking forward to continuing to prepare our team for the upcoming season.â
USC, which finished 8-5 in Kiffinâs first season at the school, begins its season on Sept. 3 against Minnesota.