Knoxville, TN, United States (4E Sports) – The NCAA has extended Tennessee’s probation for two more years after finding major infractions involving former assistant football coach Willie Mack Garza during the 2009 season.
Aside from the extension, the NCAA also reduced the Vols’ official visits from 51 to 47 during the 2012-13 academic year and eliminated complimentary tickets for the first two conference games during the 2013 season for prospects making unofficial visits.
Tennessee officials met with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Oct. 13 for an expedited penalty hearing based on a summary disposition report submitted last June.
The NCAA said Garza funded a prospect’s unofficial visit to Tennessee while he was still working as an assistant to Vols’ coach Lane Kiffin during the 2009 season.
“We will finally close the chapter on the prior actions of members of a previous football coaching staff,” Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said.
“We have significantly strengthened our culture of compliance at Tennessee and will continue to do so. We disagree with additional penalties for a matter we believed should have been part of the previous case. We will now move forward,” he added.
Garza, a defensive backs coach, went with Kiffin from Tennessee to USC following the 2009 season, but he resigned from the USC staff just before the start of the 2011 season.
Garza’s resignation came amid reports that USC officials were notified that he had been named during an interview NCAA investigators had with former Texas-based scout Willie Lyles.
According to the NCAA report, Garza reimbursed Lyles, an individual associated with prospect Lache Seastrunk, during the summer of 2009 for airfare and hotel expenses associated with an unofficial visit for Seastrunk and his mother to Tennessee.
The NCAA has classified Lyles as a Tennessee booster after arranging the trip for Seastrunk.