During the press conference that was put on by the Tennessee administration on January 18th that announced the firing of Jeremy Pruitt and a multitude of staffers, Chancellor Donde Plowman made it clear that the investigation into the matter could run deep. On that day, Plowman described how shocked she was to learn the number of violations that had occurred and the ways in which the previous staff tried to cover them up. So, it was no surprise that the university hired outside counsel to investigate possible years of infractions.
Once the Chancellor was made aware of the alleged incidents, she immediately went to work on trying to find a solution, while also getting to the bottom of the “multiple level 1 and 2 violations”, which she discussed on that January day. Tennessee hired the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King in November, wanting to immediately begin looking into the football program.
The investigation has been led by prominent attorneys Mike Glazier and Kyle Skillman, along with their staff. As reported in December 2020, the investigation began in mid-November, when the school was tipped off about alleged recruiting improprieties. From then, it’s been full steam ahead, as the University works to complete their investigation and present their final findings to the NCAA, who has been working alongside the school during this process.
Records and invoices obtained by Rocky Top Insider show multiple trips were taken in connection to the investigation. Just in the invoices alone, it shows travel to Atlanta, Nashville, and Indianapolis. But according to multiple sources, the attorneys have made other stops in their quest for information, including travel to meet with former staffers that were not on the 2020 football staff. This investigation has not only covered potential infractions during the last season of the Jeremy Pruitt era, but it spans across his entire time in Knoxville. Multiple former staff members have been questioned in the matter, which doesn’t include the times they were interviewed in Knoxville regarding the case.
Multiple sources indicated that the attorney’s investigating the case worked to get in front of former members of Jeremy Pruitt’s staff, including the previous two years, as they looked to gain information pertaining to alleged infractions . In one particular case, attorneys had to track down a former staffer who had gone “missing”, which they did end up finding and interviewing about his or her time working on Pruitt’s staff.
This investigation has crossed multiple state lines and the bills have been coming every thirty days. In total, the law firm has billed the Tennessee athletics department over $660,000 in fees and travel. The description of work being done has been redacted from the records provided, along with a few travel destinations.
For instance, in the month of January, Tennessee was billed $189,171 for services rendered pertaining to the investigation. The month of December, in which the law firm met with coaches, players, recruiting staffers, and others, the firm billed Tennessee $93,765 for their work. This was a steep climb from when the investigation started in November, where the school was billed for $12,876 from the law firm.
These figures include per diem, travel, rental cars, hotels, and other small expenses as well.
As we get closer to the football season, the administration is hoping they can come to a resolution on the matter, but it is really just a guess on when this investigation will be completed. Until then, the dark cloud will hang over the football program, as outside counsel and the NCAA work on completing their whirlwind look into the Jeremy Pruitt era.
The gift that keeps on giving.