Posted: 9:02 am Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Report: NCAA investigating Tennessee’s recruiting practices 

By Post Staff

Despite having just two months to recruit last winter, Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin raised a couple eyebrows by cobbling together Rivals.com’s No. 10 recruiting class in the nation for 2009, snagging two of the top three recruits in the country, Bryce Brown and David Oku. This year, Kiffin’s 2010 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.

But he may have broken some NCAA rules in the process. The New York Times reports this morning that the NCAA is conducting a “wide-ranging investigation” into Tennessee’s recruiting practices, specifically the improper use of recruiting hostesses.

From the report:

In one case, hostesses traveled nearly 200 miles to attend a high school game in South Carolina in which at least three Tennessee recruits were playing.

Marcus Lattimore, a running back who made an unofficial visit to Tennessee but said he would not enroll there, said multiple Tennessee hostesses attended a game at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C., in September. He said they brought signs, including one that read, “Come to Tennessee.”

“I haven’t seen no other schools do that,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

The hostesses are considered representatives of the university, which would mean they could not recruit players off campus. Therefore, the visits may be considered violations of N.C.A.A. recruiting rules.

The Times reports that NCAA officials have already visited four prospects, with two more visits scheduled this week. One of the visits last night was to the home of Pahokee receiver Chris Dunkley, one of the Florida Gators’ top targets. Dunkley confirmed to the Times that NCAA officials visited his home, but declined to say anything more.

Kiffin has also committed at least a half dozen secondary violations in Kiffin’s one-year tenure.

Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton confirmed that an investigation is taking place but declined to comment about it.

“Typically, we do not comment on inquires that are in progress,” he told the Times.