Alabama coach Nick Saban has reached out to former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt about the Crimson Tide defensive coordinator vacancy, sources told CBS Sports. No offers are believed to be available, and Alabama would not comment on Pruitt’s candidacy when contacted for comment.
As the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation, there is little chance of Pruitt being hired by the Tide, sources said. He was fired at Tennessee two years ago after the NCAA charged Volunteers with 18 first-degree violations. A Level I violation is the most serious within the NCAA’s spectrum of violations.
Speculation is rife that Pruitt will be involved in Saban’s search to replace Pete Golding, who left Miss Ole earlier this month for the same position. Goldin is not expected to be retained by Alabama.
Pruitt’s candidacy is questionable because it’s unclear whether he will be allowed to take the job.
SEC Bylaw 18.104.22.168 requires that any SEC school “considering employing an individual … to engage in activities that result or may result in a Class I, Class II, Class III, or major violation” must have its principal or principal “consult with the individual Contact the Commissioner directly before offering employment.”
While the language didn’t outright disqualify Pruitt, Alabama was required to consult with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey before hiring.
“We have a specific charter that has to be consulted,” Sankey told reporters earlier this month. “This is not an approval process. Our campuses — despite any myths that may exist — make their own personnel decisions. But we provide, for any hiring decision, this is context from a compliance standpoint.”
Auburn hired Liberty coach Hugh Freeze in late November. Freeze was a coach at Ole Miss when the program was suspended for two years for what the NCAA called “the unfettered culture of booster involvement in football recruiting.”
“Hugh has the outcome of a violation case,” Sankey added, clarifying how Frieze’s case might differ from others that may be under investigation. “We notified the leadership at Auburn University, and they made these decisions. It’s not approval or disapproval. It’s actually adhering to the charter that we put in place, so there’s transparency, there’s a clear understanding of the track record, and there’s Oversee the plan so we don’t have these issues going forward.”
Pruitt is considered one of the best defenders in the country despite a 16-19 record over three seasons at Tennessee. He has extensive experience with Saban in the SEC, having participated under his previous owners as Director of Player Development (2007-09), Defensive Backs Coach (2010-12) and Defensive Coordinator (2016). Four national championships in eight years. -17).
Some Tennessee players and their families received approximately $60,000 in cash and gifts from Pruitt, his wife and assistant coach Walls, the NCAA said. Pruitt is accused of failing to foster an atmosphere of compliance and monitor football staff during the 2018-21 season, and the university is accused of failing to monitor its recruitment. Tennessee was not found to lack institutional control, but could still face significant penalties.
Despite the NCAA baggage, other coaches have recently been hired. Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl was ordered hired by the NCAA for alleged misconduct while in Tennessee. Xavier hired basketball coach Sean Miller last year, while his former program Arizona State remains under NCAA scrutiny for alleged violations dating back to an FBI investigation into college basketball that began in 2017. Miller previously coached Xavier from 2004-09.
Show penalties don’t prevent coaches from being hired, but are considered red flags in the industry. Any school that hires a coach with such a designation must explain why before the NCAA.