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How Jeremy Pruitt babysitter allegedly paid Tennessee player’s mom in NCAA recruiting scandal

  • November 25, 2022

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Add Jeremy Pruitt’s babysitter to the alleged culprits in the Tennessee football NCAA case, which already included his wife.

Buried in a 108-page document responding to the NCAA notice of allegations, the university mentioned that Pruitt’s babysitter was tasked with giving money to a UT player’s mother for car payments.

That’s a new revelation that was not included in the NCAA notice of allegations in July.

That initial report alleged that almost $60,000 of cash or gifts were provided to players and their families by Pruitt, the fired UT coach, and wife Casey; assistant coaches Derrick Ansley, Shelton Felton and Brian Niedermeyer; recruiting staff members Drew Hughes, Bethany Gunn and Chantryce Boone; and an unnamed booster from 2018-21.

The NCAA alleged they committed 18 Level 1 violations, the most serious in its four-tier system.

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CHICK-FIL-A BAG OF CASH: Pruitt paid Tennessee football parent

According to UT’s response to the NCAA, Jeremy Pruitt paid $6,000 to a recruit’s mother for a down payment on a 2017 Nissan Armada. He promised the payment during a recruiting visit in fall 2018 and paid the $6,000 on Dec. 26, 2018.

The unnamed player’s mother told investigators that Pruitt told her to “pick whatever I want and he’ll make the payment.” Investigators confirmed it through the car dealership.

How Pruitt babysitter helped pay player’s mom

That’s where the babysitter came in.

The recruit enrolled at UT to play football. And from Jan. 28, 2019 to March 26, 2021, Pruitt paid 25 monthly payments of $500 for the car. The last two payments came after UT fired Pruitt in January 2021.

The player’s mother told investigators that she received the money from Casey Pruitt or Pruitt’s babysitter at Pruitt’s home. Also, Casey Pruitt occasionally delivered the money to her residence.

Those car payments represented a large portion of the inducements and impermissible benefits paid to UT players and recruits, the NCAA report found.

It also alleged that Casey Pruitt provided $3,000 in cash rent payments for an unnamed UT player and his mother from September 2018 to March 2021. The gifts began during the prospect’s recruitment and continued after he enrolled and played for the Vols.

In a separate violation, the NCAA says Casey Pruitt arranged for a real estate agent to meet with a recruit’s family. 

Casey Pruitt’s involvement in the allegations was eye-opening. Before marrying Jeremy, she worked in NCAA compliance at Troy University, Florida State and Oklahoma.

Reach Adam Sparks at adam.sparks@knoxnews.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

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