Lane Kiffin will use Tennessee’s trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl to help lure recruits from Georgia. It shouldn’t be hard to pick him out of a crowd. He’ll be the guy surrounded by “hostesses.”
The NCAA is investigating Kiffin and the Tennessee program for recruiting violations, according to the New York Times. Among the high school players the NCAA is interviewing is North Gwinnett High offensive lineman JaWuan James, a Tennessee commit.
This might be a good time for Kiffin to dial it down just a little. It’s turning into quite a humiliating period for Tennessee. Last month, three freshman players – all prized recruits – were arrested and charged with armed robbery outside of a Knoxville convenience store. (Two of those players were released from the program. Another was reinstated after having charges dropped.)
The incident gave fuel to Kiffin’s critics, in part because one of the charged players, Nu’Keese Richardson, was at the core of Kiffin’s baseless charge that Florida coach Urban Meyer was cheating in recruiting.
Now comes this. The NCAA believes Kiffin has become overly aggressive in using female hostesses to help lure recruits. Almost every school uses coeds as campus guides during a recruit’s official on-campus visit. But not every school – or any school – has had them travel 200 miles to a high school game in South Carolina to visit the players, as reportedly was the case here. That would constitute illegal recruiting contact.
Marcus Lattimore, a running back in Duncan, S.C., told the Times that hostesses brought signs to a game in September, reading: “Come to Tennessee.” “I haven’t seen no other schools do that,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
This isn’t something as serious as academic fraud or paying players. Or armed robbery. But it’s certainly something that can result in sanctions. And it’s one more reason to laugh at Lane Kiffin.