The NCAA has granted Tennessee a 30-day extension to respond to its notice of allegations in the Jeremy Pruitt recruiting scandal, KnoxNews Adam Sparks first reported and a UT spokesperson confirmed to RTI Tuesday.
The NCAA handed down its notice of allegations in late July and Tennessee had 90 days to accept or appeal the charges before the NCAA handed down punishment.
With the window to respond approaching, Tennessee requested a 30-day extension before having to make a decision.
After Tennessee responds to the notice of allegations, the NCAA has 60 days to reply to the response.
While Tennessee’s reasoning is unclear, the move does protect Tennessee’s postseason chances this season if the NCAA decided to hand down a postseason ban.
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Tennessee is in the midst of its best football season in nearly two decades. The Vols are 7-0 for the first time since 1998 and have reached that point earning four ranked wins and knocking off Alabama for the first time since 2006.
The Vols are in the heat of the SEC race ahead of next weekend’s matchup with No. 1 Georgia in Athens. The winner of the Tennessee-Georgia game will almost certainly represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship game.
Even with a loss against Georgia, Tennessee could realistically find itself in the College Football Playoff at 11-1.
Tennessee’s resurgent under Josh Heupel comes less than two years after firing head coach Jeremy Pruitt for committing recruiting violations and losing football games.
The NCAA’s notice of allegations included 18 Level I violations including impermissible benefits for players, recruits and their families.
Tennessee continues its 2022 football season Saturday night against Kentucky. Kick off between the Vols and Wildcats is at 7 p.m. ET. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe are on the call for ESPN.