Wednesday, February 15, 2006
McClendon, mother at Lady Vols game via booster
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee football signee Jacques
McClendon received an improper benefit when he and his mother
attended a Lady Vols basketball game as guests of a booster, school
officials said Wednesday.
Athletic department officials filed a report about the secondary
violation and explained why McClendon, a star offensive lineman
from Chattanooga, was at Sunday's game against Vanderbilt.
McClendon and his mother, Stephanie McClendon, were guests of
Knoxville attorney Gordon Ball and his son, Tanner, who attends
school with McClendon, according to the report obtained by The
McClendon was declared ineligible until he and his mother pay a
total of $74 -- $15 apiece for game tickets and $22 apiece for a
pregame meal at the arena -- to a charity of their choice. The
university will send a warning letter to Ball.
"I apologize to everyone if there was a quote violation," Ball
told the AP on Wednesday. "It was my fault, not Jacques' fault,
not my son's fault. I was not thinking."
The McClendons were sitting on the front row in courtside seats
assigned to boosters who have made at least a one-time donation of
$40,000 per pair.
McClendon, who lives in Cleveland, was considered the prize
recruit of this year's signing class. He committed early, and coach
Phillip Fulmer praised him on the Feb. 1 signing day for sticking
with the Vols despite the 5-6 season.
Ball's son, Tanner, asked his father if he was going to use all
four of his tickets for the game and asked if McClendon and his
mother could go with them.
"I didn't even think about it," Ball said.
Fulmer didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
The McClendons watched the first half of the game from the
courtside seats. But they weren't there for the second half, and
officials said they moved to seats in another section for the rest
of the game.
Ball said he was made aware of the possible violation at
Secondary violations are fairly common among NCAA schools, and
the SEC normally accepts whatever penalty the school has
"The institution believes that this violation was isolated and
inadvertent. Further, it did not provide Tennessee with any
competitive or recruiting advantage," officials said in the