No sanctions for Lane Kiffin
LOS ANGELES -- University of Southern California coach Lane Kiffin did not commit any major violations during his one year at the University of Tennessee and will not face any sanctions, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions announced Wednesday.
Kiffin, in his second season as the Trojans' coach, was accused of allowing recruiting interns to make contact with staff members at high schools despite being told by athletic department staffers it would be an impermissible activity. The COI report, released Wednesday, said Kiffin and his staff committed 12 minor violations from January 2009 to October 2009 but did not find enough evidence to support "findings of major violations."
"I'm very grateful to the NCAA, the Committee on Infractions and its chairman, Dennis Thomas, for a very fair and thorough process," Kiffin said in a statement. "I'm also very grateful that we were able to accurately and fairly present the facts in our case and that no action was taken against us.
"I'm pleased that the NCAA based its decision on the facts and not on perception."
While not disciplined, Kiffin was criticized in the report, which said his was "not a record of which to be proud."
Read the report: "The committee was troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions by the football coaching staff during its one-year tenure at the institution."
Kiffin and USC athletic director Pat Haden appeared at an NCAA hearing in the case in June in Indianapolis, sitting before the committee for four hours.
"We obviously were pleased to learn about the NCAA's ruling today regarding Lane Kiffin," Haden said in a statement. "I appeared at Lane's NCAA hearing, and I believe the NCAA's decision is fair and based on the facts presented.
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"I'm glad this is behind us now and I know Lane feels the same way. From the time he arrived at USC, Lane Kiffin has been extremely compliant regarding NCAA rules and I feel confident that he will continue to be so."
Committee member and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky was asked on a Wednesday conference call if Kiffin could receive any future punishment for his actions at Tennessee.
"Not based on the information put before the committee in this case," he said.
Kiffin and the Trojans are just 10 days away from their 2011 season opener, at home against Minnesota on Sept. 3.
"As I have said before, we always have been committed to following NCAA rules and bylaws both at Tennessee and now at USC, and we always will be," Kiffin said Wednesday. "Now that this has reached its conclusion, I am looking forward to continuing to prepare our team for the upcoming season."
Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.