- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin denied any wrongdoing Thursday by himself or his staff in connection with the NCAA's ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties involving Vols recruiting hostesses.
"Let me say this. Myself and our staff take the rules and the bylaws of the SEC and the NCAA extremely seriously," Kiffin said. "We work extremely hard to follow those. In this situation right here, I don't see ... I don't know of any wrongdoing with any members of our staff or the kids that are being questioned."
Kiffin was speaking at a news conference to promote the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He said he has not spoken with any NCAA investigators, nor has he been asked to speak with anyone.
The university has not received an official letter of inquiry from the NCAA, which is in the process of talking to several prospects and their coaches concerning what role hostesses might have played in the Vols' recruitment of players.
On Thursday, NCAA investigators were in Suwanee, Ga., talking to North Gwinnett High players Juwuan James and Austin Shepherd. James is committed to Tennessee and Shepherd to Alabama.
North Gwinnett athletic director Mark Karen told the Knoxville News-Sentinel following the NCAA's four-hour visit, "It wasn't about our kids. It was clear it was about Tennessee."
Kiffin said he's confident that nothing will come out of the NCAA's review.
"This is something that's had a lot of national run and a lot of media," Kiffin said. "What I compare it to is I go back to the Bryce Brown situation right before the season. That got a lot of national media attention and a lot of 'SportsCenter' attention that the Tennessee staff had some involvement in some illegal recruiting of Bryce Brown and that Bryce Brown did something illegal.
"There was an investigation into that and there was no wrongdoing. I look for this to be the same exact situation. In the end, when the research is done and conclusions are made, the same result will happen."
Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com.
Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin says he was not "aware" of any recruiting violations committed by himself, his assistants or support staff regarding the university's student ambassador program.