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Jeremy Pruitt responds to report of Vol football investigation

The initial report surfaced during the first quarter of Saturday's game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — After Tennessee's 34-13 loss against No. 5 Texas A&M, questions quickly turned to the possibility of an internal investigation into the recruiting habits of the football program after a report surfaced during the first quarter of Saturday's contest.

"I hadn't seen no article or anything like that, but anytime in college football or college athletics you have typical compliance stuff and that's all I know," Pruitt said during the postgame press conference.

The article in question, originally reported by Fox Sports Knox's Trey Wallace, alleges the football program is being investigated by its own compliance department and the NCAA for alleged recruiting violations and impermissible benefits to current student-athletes.

In a statement, UT spokesperson Tom Satkowiak shared with 10News, "In keeping with our institutional commitment to compliance, we often look closely at regulatory issues that are brought to our attention via internal or external channels. Maintaining compliance is a shared responsibility, and active monitoring is part of that process."

ESPN also published a report on an alleged investigation on Saturday evening, reaffirming that the compliance office at Tennessee was conducting an investigation, however was unable to confirm through sources that the NCAA was involved, saying it was focused on "recruiting practices."

ESPN reported the recruitment of Amarius Mims, one of the top offensive tackles in the country for the Class of 2021, is part of the compliance department's inquiry. Mims signed with Georgia this week.

On Saturday, both sophomore quarterback Brian Maurer and sophomore running back Eric Gray were unavailable for the game. ESPN reported Gray's absence was due to "the compliance inquiry."

Pruitt was asked why Gray didn't play against Texas A&M on three separate occasions during the postgame press conference, his responses where:

"He was unavailable."

"The entire year, we've really, when it's come to our guys from injury to COVID or whatever reasons, we've always said they're unavailable."

"Guys, I've already addressed that one time."

Tennessee finishes the regular season with a 3-7 record, 16-19 under Jeremy Pruitt in three seasons.