Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Vols won't face further NCAA punishment
By Edward Aschoff
Tennessee's football program will not receive any further punishment from the NCAA, other than the self-imposed ones the school administered prior to appearing before the committee on infractions in June.
The NCAA's Committee on Infractions concluded that the major violations the football program originally faced were found to be secondary and former coach Lane Kiffin won't face any further sanctions either.
Volunteers coach Derek Dooley must be more than relieved that he doesn't have to pay for the sins of another man. This is everything that Dooley could have asked for and now he and the Tennessee football program can move on and not have to keep worrying about possible penalties and restrictions.
This is kind of a like a rebirth for Tennessee's football team and now that sanctions aren't hovering over the Vols, Dooley should really be able to recruit at a much higher level. He will no longer have to answer questions from prospects and their parents about possible penalties for the football program.
And while Dooley can finally rest easy, senior associate athletic director David Blackburn and other members of Tennessee's administration should be commended for their cooperation with the NCAA. Without it, the program might have been hit much harder than it was.
While this means that Dooley will be on a more even recruiting plan with rival SEC teams, it also means that his expectations for the future will be raised. With the news he received Wednesday, I doubt Dooley will mind.
Dooley has shown that when given a fair shake he can be a solid recruiter in the SEC and now he'll truly get his chance. He can now fully concentrate on building for 2012 and 2013 with the hope of getting Tennessee back to the days of regularly competing for the SEC East.
It might mean more pressure for Dooley in the coming years, but I'm sure he'll take that over having the dark cloud of NCAA sanctions creating unwanted distractions for him and his program.
For a coach who inherited a mess at Tennessee, this is what Dooley needed in order to move forward. It's all about the play on the field from here on out for Dooley and the Vols.