University of Tennessee won't self-impose bowl ban after internal investigation into rules violation of football program

The University of Tennessee has concluded its year-long internal investigation into rules violations within the football program that led to the firing of head football coach Jeremy Pruitt and will not self-impose a bowl ban, the university announced Thursday.

In a statement, the university said it was "moving forward with our focus on rebuilding our football program and supporting student-athletes" and that it would "hold ourselves accountable considering the nature of the violations, our prompt investigation and corrective personnel, the new recruiting environment and other factors."

Sources told ESPN that the university does plan to self-impose penalties other than a postseason ban such as a reduction in scholarships and other recruiting restrictions. The university has yet to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA, according to sources.

While the NCAA has been heavily involved in Tennessee's internal probe, which was aided by former NCAA investigator Michael Glazier and the Bond, Schoeneck & King law firm, the NCAA has yet to make a final ruling on Tennessee's case and could still levy its own penalties.

"NCAA bylaws prevent us from sharing details of the investigation at this time, but we do commit to providing that information when we are able," the university said in a statement.

Sources told ESPN that Tennessee had hoped to have a resolution from the NCAA by the end of this current football season at the latest, and given the NCAA's notoriously slow investigation process, decided some time ago that it would be "unfair to penalize current student-athletes who had nothing to do with any of this" by self-imposing a bowl ban.

Tennessee fired Pruitt on Jan. 18 for cause after announcing a month earlier that it had hired Bond, Schoeneck & King to assist with its in-house investigation.

In its termination letter sent to Pruitt in January, the university concluded that the conduct by at least two assistant coaches and several recruiting staff members were likely to lead to an NCAA finding of Level I and/or Level II violations of one or more Governing Athletic Rules and that these likely findings were the result of either Pruitt's material neglect or lack of reasonable preventive compliance measures.

Donde Plowman, UT's chancellor, said in January following Pruitt's firing that it was "stunning" and "shocking" the number of people involved and the amount of incidents the university's internal investigation had uncovered.

Last month, an attorney representing Pruitt gave Tennessee officials an Oct. 29 deadline to reach a financial settlement with the former Vols football coach, or face a lawsuit that he says will include details of myriad NCAA rules violations in the football program and other sports and result in debilitating NCAA sanctions. No resolution has been reported.