Paul Finebaum is considering hiring Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator for Alabama

Alabama is searching for its next defensive coordinator after Pete Golding’s departure for Ole Miss. Former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator and ex-Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was swum by ex-Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy on his radio show Out There. Tennessee fired Pruitt was fired after the 2020 season and is under investigation by the NCAA, but Paul Finebaum said that shouldn’t be a problem.

“I think far too many people are pointing at the commissioner as a mugging,” Finebaum said on WJOX-FM McElroy and Cubelic in the morning. “I’m pretty sure the Commissioner hasn’t stopped any of these hires in the past. He made the role of the conference very clear, and that is not to tell schools what they can and cannot do. They can give advice when asked or engage in conversation, but that’s the limit. I think along with Pruitt, but I think I’ve heard a different answer every day of the week from people who claim to know.

The notice obtained by Tennessee and Pruitt lists 18 Level 1 violations — the most serious of the NCAA’s four-level violations — related to nearly $60,000 in cash and gifts provided to recruits, players and their families became.

Knox News received a copy of the allegation notice, including a breakdown of all 18 violations. Most involve Tennessee employees — and Pruitt’s wife, Casey Pruitt — who pay for meals, hotel stays and transportation. In some cases, Tennessee-related individuals gave money to applicants’ parents to pay off debts or rent.

In the first violation, Casey Pruitt arranged for a recruit’s family to meet with a real estate agent. In particular, however, the NCAA commended Tennessee’s leadership in handling the scandal, going so far as to say that “actions taken by the institution during the investigation should be the standard for all institutional investigations of potential violations.”

The 18th infraction alleges that the university failed to oversee the program’s recruiting efforts to ensure they were consistent with NCAA governance. It also notes that there was no “lack of institutional oversight” found in Tennessee, which Knox News said could prevent the program from potentially suffering devastating penalties.

Tennessee reflected the NCAA’s view of their compliance throughout the process.

“At every step of this process, the University’s swift and decisive actions have exemplified the NCAA’s longstanding values, which are reaffirmed in the new membership constitution,” the university said in a statement. “While the NCAA’s bylaws prohibit the university from commenting publicly on the specific allegations, the university has and will continue to seek a resolution of this case that is consistent with the new NCAA constitution and in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.”

Tennessee fired Pruitt on good cause in January 2021 after an internal university investigation found evidence of widespread recruiting violations. In three seasons as Tennessee head coach, Pruitt compiled an overall record of 16-19, including a 10-16 appearance in the SEC game.

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The Vols never finished better than third in the SEC East under Pruitt’s tenure, and finished seventh and fifth, respectively, in his career bookend seasons. He also managed just one winning season in 2019, capped by a win over Indiana in the Gator Bowl. The Vols were scheduled to play in the 2020 Liberty Bowl but were canceled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the program.