Kiffin commits third recruiting gaffe

Updated: February 16, 2009, 7:14 PM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

This story has been corrected. Read below

A little more than a week after wrongly accusing Florida's Urban Meyer of cheating, first-year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has had his own hand slapped ... again.

Tennessee plans to self-report a secondary violation, the third one involving Kiffin in the last month, after he mentioned unsigned prospect Bryce Brown by name during a radio show in Knoxville on Friday morning.

Brown is scheduled to make an official visit to Tennessee this weekend and is rated by Scouts Inc. as the No. 2 running back prospect in the country.

Kiffin was talking about the growing trend of high school prospects waiting until after signing day to choose a school and made a reference to "great players like Bryce Brown" while appearing on WNML Radio. Those comments came after the host of the show, Dave Hooker, couched the question by reminding Kiffin that he couldn't talk about specific recruits.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting about unsigned prospects, specifically their ability. The other two secondary violations involving Kiffin had to do with simulating game-day experiences while prospects were on campus.

In reporting those violations, Tennessee officials issued letters of admonishment to both Kiffin and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron.

Tiffany Carpenter, director of public relations for Tennessee's athletic department, said this most recent violation will be filed with the SEC and NCAA.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said Tennessee will continue to take a "pro-active stance" as it relates to any potential violations, whether they're secondary or otherwise.

"It's the sign of an effective compliance program," said Hamilton, who hired the 33-year-old Kiffin after firing 17-year veteran Phillip Fulmer following last season.

From the day he was announced, Kiffin has seemed to revel in stirring it up.

Last week at a recruiting celebration in Knoxville, Kiffin accused Meyer of violating NCAA rules by calling eventual Tennessee signee Nu'Keese Richardson while Richardson was on his official visit to Tennessee.

"Just so you know, when a recruit's on another campus, you can't call a recruit on another campus. I love the fact that Urban had to cheat, and still didn't get him [Richardson]," Kiffin told a group of mostly Tennessee fans at a breakfast the day after signing day.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley immediately demanded an apology, pointing out there was no rule preventing coaches from calling recruits on visits, and SEC commissioner Mike Slive responded by publicly reprimanding Kiffin.

Kiffin issued a statement later that day apologizing, but has indicated several times afterward that he's unconcerned about what anybody else in the SEC thinks about him.

"There's nobody outside the Tennessee fans. There's nobody outside the Tennessee family, and there's nobody outside this group of players that will ever help us win a football game. So we really don't care if we offend some people on the way to getting there," Kiffin said earlier this week while speaking to the Big Orange Tipoff Club.

Chris Low is a college football reporter for ESPN.

ESPN.com cited a statement in the Tennessean from an NCAA spokesperson saying that "the NCAA rarely levies penalties on self-reported secondary violations." The statement was not attributed to the newspaper and was also not correct, according to NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn.

Chris Low | email

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