According to a report from the Knoxville News Sentinel, via his lawyer, Jeremy Pruitt gave Tennessee an ultimatum earlier this month regarding the ongoing NCAA investigation, which resulted in Pruitt being fired with cause from Tennessee. Below is what the report states:
"The lawyer representing former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt gave UT an ultimatum this month: Either reach a settlement with Pruitt by Oct. 29, or face a lawsuit that the lawyer claims has the potential to “cripple UT’s athletic programs for years.”
The university intends to stand its ground, with no plans to settle, promising a "vigorous defense" if Pruitt chooses to go to court. “A lawsuit is a certainty if there's no settlement,” said Michael Lyons, Pruitt’s Texas-based lawyer, in an interview Tuesday with the USA TODAY Network.
"On behalf of my client, I can tell you that he’s not happy that this is the only choice they’ve left him with," Lyons said, "but he’s not going to walk away without getting his day in court.”
"He’s going to file a lawsuit," Lyons added. "They’re not leaving him much choice."
Lyons sent a letter Oct. 7 to UT’s general counsel requesting a meeting to discuss a settlement"
Pruitt, now employed by the New York Giants, would have received a 12.6 million dollar buyout had he not been fired for cause by the University in January. To this day, NCAA is still having to work hand in hand with the NCAA in the ongoing investigation about recruiting improprieties levied against Pruitt's staff.
Following Pruitt's removal as head coach at Tennessee, the Volunteers saw a mass exodus of players to the transfer portal and lost several members of the 2021 recruiting class.
Pruitt's lawyer suggests that the information his client has will be an embarrassment to the university, according to the report.
“If Coach Pruitt is forced to file a lawsuit,” Lyons wrote in a letter to Tennessee, “it is inevitable that this information will become public, embarrass UT and those associated with it, including its largest donors, and result in debilitating NCAA sanctions."
"We’re not here to bluff. I can promise you that we’ve investigated it very carefully," the report states when asked about the lack of specific details regarding the allegations and individuals referenced in his letter, "and I’m not going to give them and spoil the surprise of what we have, but you can rest assured that we’ve done our homework.”
However, according to a response from the University, obtained through a public record request by USA Today, Tennessee has no plans of backing away from these threats.
“Your letter contains no denials of your client’s actions,” Stinnett wrote. “Instead, you raise vague and unsupported allegations of other violations by the University and threaten to embarrass the University publicly by revealing these alleged violations.”
“The University emphatically denies these allegations and will not be intimidated into settling with your client based on your unsupported assertions.”
Pruitt, along with Brian Niedermeyer, who cannot even find a job as a high school coach, Shelton Felton, who is now the head coach at Valdosta, and several other recruiting staff members were fired for cause on January 18 of 2021, and there remains no end in sight for the NCAA investigation into their actions, or when this saga will come to some form of resolution.