KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The NCAA has interviewed several current and former Tennessee coaches and recruits regarding an investigation into possible recruiting violations, people with knowledge of the probe have told The Associated Press.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
ESPN reported Friday that Tennessee expects to receive a letter of inquiry soon about possible violations under former coach Lane Kiffin and his staff.
After practice at Southern California on Friday, Kiffin restated his opinion that the investigation won’t find any wrongdoing. The coach also said the NCAA investigators will be in Los Angeles at some point this fall to interview assistant coaches who followed Kiffin from Knoxville to Los Angeles earlier this year.
“They started looking into things when we were there, eight or nine months ago,” Kiffin said. “All the reports I’ve heard is that there’s nothing wrong.”
Tennessee self-reported six minor recruiting violations by Kiffin and his staff during their one-year tenure and in December acknowledged cooperating with an NCAA investigation into actions by the school’s Orange Pride athletics hostess program.
The Volunteers have not reported any violations since Kiffin’s departure in January, however, and the interviews with coaches and recruits took place in the spring.
When asked if he was worried about the impact of another NCAA investigation, Kiffin replied: “Absolutely not at all. There’s no way. I have great confidence in what we did there, that we didn’t do anything wrong. ... That’s (the NCAA’s) job, to make sure there isn’t any wrongdoing. Just because they’re looking into something doesn’t mean we did anything wrong.”
USC was hit with major NCAA sanctions shortly after Kiffin’s arrival, including a two-year bowl ban, scholarship restrictions and four years of probation.