On Thursday, the NCAA announced that the Texas A&M football program violated recruiting rules and would be punished. The infractions took place during a period between January 2018 and February 2019 according to the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and an unnamed assistant were ruled to have made impermissible recruiting recruiting contact with a prospect, and Texas A&M has been placed on probation while Fisher has received a six-month show-cause.
And according to a report and Texas A&M itself, current Tennessee running backs coach and former Aggies running backs coach Jay Graham was the unnamed assistant coach in the report.
Per Alex Miller of The Eagle, Graham and Fisher both committed recruiting violations at Texas A&M, and Graham will also be put on a six-month show-cause through the rest of 2020.
Texas A&M says the assistant coach involved in the recruiting violations at A&M with Jimbo Fisher is former assistant Jay Graham, who’s now at Tennessee. Graham will also have a 6-month show-cause thru the end of 2020.
— Alex Miller (@AlexMill20) July 2, 2020
According to the NCAA Committee on Infractions, the show-cause for Graham includes “a previously served nine-day ban on phone calls, emails, or texts with prospects in January 2020; a reduction in off-campus recruiting contact days by three for the December 2019 through January 2020 contact period; a ban on all off-campus recruiting activities for the fall 2020 contact period; and additional one-on-one rules education.” Fisher has been served with the same penalties, as well as being mandated to make a public statement addressing the violations.
Graham signed a two-year contract with Tennessee this offseason that’s worth $575,000 annually. That’s a slight raise from the $550,000 Graham made this past season with Texas A&M, where he spent two years as an assistant before coming back to UT. Graham also served as an assistant under Fisher at Florida State.
The veteran position coach has been the running backs coach at Chattanooga, San Diego, UT-Martin, Miami (Ohio), South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State, and Texas A&M in his career. He’s also helped with special teams at Florida State and had a co-offensive coordinator title at Texas A&M.
As a player for the Vols, Graham was an All-SEC performer who has his name scattered throughout UT’s record books. His 11 games of 100-plus rushing yards in 1995 are the most in a single season in school history, and his 14 career games of 100-plus rushing yards are the second-most in a Tennessee career. Graham’s 2,609 career rushing yards are the eighth-most in school history, and his 25 career rushing touchdowns are tied for the 10th-most in program history. He also has the fifth-most carries in a UT career with 540 in his career from 1993-96.
Tennessee has not made a comment at this time.
The Vols’ 2021 recruiting class currently ranks No. 4 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. Tennessee holds commitments from several projected running backs in the 2021 class currently, including four-star Cody Brown, No. 1 JUCO running back Tiyon Evans, three-star Jaylen Wright, and three-star in-state back Elijah Howard.