Alabama coach Nick Saban has reached out to former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt about the Crimson Tide’s open defensive coordinator position, sources tell CBS Sports. No offer is believed to have been made at this time, and Alabama would not comment on Pruitt’s candidacy when reached for comment.

Sources indicate Pruitt faces long odds to be hired by the Tide as the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation. He was fired by Tennessee two years ago when the NCAA filed 18 violations against the Volunteers. Level I violations are the most serious on the scale of NCAA violations.

There is widespread speculation that Pruitt will be involved in the search for Saban to replace Pete Golding, who left Ole Miss for the same position earlier this month. Goulding was not meant to stay at Alabama.

Pruitt’s candidacy is in doubt because he would not be allowed to accept the job if offered.

SEC Bylaw requires that any SEC school “considering hiring an individual … engaged in or engaged in a Level I, Level II, Level III, or serious violation” consult the president or chancellor. directly with the Commissioner before giving employment to the individual.”

While that language does not directly disqualify Pruitt, Alabama must consult with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey before making the hire.

“We have a special bylaw that says there has to be consultation,” Sanke told reporters earlier this month. “This is not an approval process. Our campuses—despite the myth—make their own personnel decisions. But we make any hiring decisions, and that’s the background from a compliance perspective.”

Auburn hired Liberty coach Hugh Freeze in late November. Freeze was the coach at Ole Miss when the program was slapped with a two-year suspension for what the NCAA called “a culture of unrestricted encouragement in football recruiting.”

“Hugh had the results of a violation case,” Sankey added, explaining how Freeze’s case differs from others in ongoing investigations. “We’ve informed Auburn University leaders, and they’ve made decisions. It’s not an approval or disapproval. It’s really about complying with the bylaws that we’ve established, so that there’s transparency, there’s a clear understanding and control of the record. Make a plan, so we don’t have those problems going forward.”

Pruitt finished 16-19 in three seasons at Tennessee, but is considered one of the best defensive minds in the country. He has extensive experience in the SEC and with Saban, including four national championships in eight years with his former boss as director of player development (2007-09), defensive backs coach (2010-12) and defensive coordinator (2016-17).

The NCAA said some Tennessee players and their families received nearly $60,000 in cash and gifts from Pruitt, his wife and Vols assistant coaches. Pruitt has been accused of failing to foster an atmosphere of discipline and supervision on the football staff from 2018-21, and the university has been accused of failing to monitor recruiting. Tennessee was not found to lack institutional oversight, but could still face significant fines.

Other coaches have recently been hired despite NCAA baggage. Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl was hired under an order from the NCAA for misconduct he committed while at Tennessee. Xavier hired basketball coach Sean Miller last year, whose former program Arizona remains under NCAA investigation into the FBI’s investigation into college basketball that began in 2017. Miller previously coached Xavier from 2004-09.

A fine due to a performance does not prevent the hiring of a trainer, but it is considered a red letter in the industry. Any school that hires a coach with such a designation must go before the NCAA to explain why.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *