According to a report from the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee self-reported violations in both basketball and baseball during 2017. The football team, however, did not. Neither did the women’s basketball team.
The men’s basketball team reported 11 Level III violations in 2017. Level III violations are considered minor infractions and often don’t incur any additional infractions from the NCAA.
“The NCAA manual is more than 400 pages of thousands of rules, which are nuanced into thousands more interpretations of those rules, so it is expected that Level III violations may occur on occasion,” Andrew Donovan, Tennessee’s associate athletic director for compliance, wrote in an email to the USA TODAY Network in response to their records request. “They’re inadvertent and oftentimes technical mistakes that we seek to avoid through communication and regular rules education. However, they happen from time to time and in many ways demonstrate a healthy compliance program.”
One of the minor violations that basketball reported involved Rick Barnes doing a goodwill gesture for one of his assistants.
According to the report, Barnes thought his assistant, Desmond Oliver, deserved a pay raise and needed more money than he was currently making. So Barnes decided to dip into his own pay and supplement Oliver’s income.
“It was important to me that Des Oliver made the same amount of money as (fellow assistant Michael Schwartz),” Barnes said. “I just felt those two positions needed to be equal. They felt it wasn’t in the budget. I just said, ‘I am going to pay it myself.’ The point is, I wanted him to be paid the same as the other assistants, because I know how hard he works. I still think those guys should be paid more money. When (former athletic director John Currie) came in, they fixed it. It’s equal now. But for a year, I did it.
“He works his butt off. It was important to me that he knows how much we all appreciate him.”
The baseball team reported three violations. One instance was when a volunteer assistant received complimentary admission to the football team’s home opener against Indiana State. The baseball coaching staff was recognized on the field for that game.
Another instance was when an agent contacted professional baseball teams on a player’s behalf. Then-head coach Dave Serrano reported the violation when he found out about it. The player “did not enter into a verbal or written agreement with the agent, did not receive benefits, and did not agree to agree to future representation” according to KNS. The player involved was also withheld from 20 percent of the Vols’ regular season baseball games.
Tennessee’s football team and women’s basketball team didn’t report any violations from 2017 according to the reports obtained by the News Sentinel.