EDITOR'S NOTE: On Monday night, University of Tennessee officials determined that no violation was committed. For more, click here.
Just when you thought Tennessee's season couldn't get any weirder, the Volunteers go and do something like this ... and, well, yeah. Tennessee just keeps finding a way to put the "silly" in silly season.
You may know UT guard Renaldo Woolridge by his hip-hop alter-ego "Swiperboy." Woolridge has already given us a couple of not-as-bad-as-you'd-think hoops-themed hip-hop songs, one dedicated to college hoops in general and another in honor of the Volunteers (with a catchy remix of "Rocky Top" as the main hook, naturally), among others. To this point, nothing Woolridge has said in his raps has gotten him in trouble. But he appears to be in some trouble all the same.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Woolridge shot a music video at a local Knoxville bar called New Amsterdam on Sunday. According to a source, Woolridge was allowed to use the bar's top floor free of charge:
"It was given to him by the New Amsterdam for free because we do support him and UT sports in general," the source said. "He shot the video, like I said, to support UT. It was basically done at the New Amsterdam because it's one of the favorite spots for UT college students."
It doesn't take a compliance officer to figure out why this could be a problem. NCAA athletes are not allowed to receive benefits, services or special treatment "because of the individual's athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation," according to NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.6. Based on the nature of the arrangement, this would seem to qualify.
In a regular season, on a regular team, this would be a funny little NCAA compliance story. On the College Hoops Scandal-o-meter (Scandalometer?), this barely registers a blip.
But we're talking about 2010-11 Tennessee men's hoops, a team that has already lost its coach for the first half of its conference season thanks to his decision to initially mislead NCAA investigators about a minor recruiting violation. We're talking about the Tennessee Volunteers athletics program, which is already under NCAA investigation for various alleged violations by its football, basketball and baseball programs. If there was one school that needed to avoid a silly-season NCAA issue like this, it's Tennessee.
Instead, here the Vols go again. Self-inflicted or not, Tennessee's strange, violation-tinged season rolls on.