Photo reveals Vols recruits had contact with hostesses at game
After Byrnes High finished its 60-7 route of Gaffney on Sept. 25 in Duncan, S.C., people poured out of the stands to celebrate the victory. On the field, Rebels star defensive ends
The women's names were
The above photo, taken by SI.com after the game, shows Earps and Johnson violated the letter of the NCAA rule against contact by a representative of the university's athletics interest, which the NCAA considers a secondary violation. Neither Earps nor Johnson responded to e-mails sent to addresses listed for them on the University of Tennessee Web site. Tennessee athletic department spokeswoman
"The University of Tennessee confirms that there is an NCAA review under way. University Administration and Athletics are cooperating fully," the statement read. "We are concerned about the alleged activities of some members of the Orange Pride. Both university and NCAA guidelines are a part of the Orange Pride's orientation and training. If those guidelines were violated, we will take appropriate action. Because of federal student privacy regulations, we can't comment further."
According to the statement, Orange Pride is one of three student ambassador programs that serve the university. In a photo of the group in the 2009 Tennessee football media guide, Earps is listed as a captain. Orange Pride has 75 members, both male and female, who host recruits on their official visits. During sweeping recruiting reforms enacted in 2004, the NCAA banned female-only hostess groups.
According to the Times, NCAA investigators either have interviewed or were scheduled to interview Pahokee, Fla., receiver
So why is this photo surfacing two days after the
I attended the Byrnes game between covering the South Carolina-Ole Miss game Sept. 24 in Columbia, S.C., and the Alabama-Arkansas game Sept. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The following week, Byrnes was set to play Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 high school teams in the nation, and I had been assigned to gather material for an advance story. After watching Miller and Willis dominate that night, I interviewed them and took several pictures, hoping to get a usable headshot that could run with any future story. One of the photos happened to be of the players with the hostesses. I did not know who the women were at the time, and did not put two and two together until the