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Vols report special treatment at bar

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee reported secondary violations to the NCAA after discovering 36 student-athletes were given special treatment at the Knoxville bar where a fight involving Volunteers football players broke out in July.

Tennessee athletic officials began investigating possible extra benefits after the owners of Bar Knoxville said following the July 9 bar brawl that Vols athletes were not required to pay cover charges on Thursday nights, when some other patrons were charged between $5 and $10.

The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported the violations. School officials declined to comment to The Associated Press about the violations and did not immediately respond to a public records request.

According to a report by Tennessee, the bar permitted other patrons to enter free of charge, but Tennessee found the policy was an NCAA violation because "the benefit was not advertised or provided to all UT students."

None of the athletes received more than $70 in benefits and each paid his share of benefits to a charity.

The report by Tennessee also determined that Bar Knoxville owners Allen and Sandy Morton were not donors to the Vols athletic programs.

Tennessee's football, men's basketball and baseball programs are currently the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation. At the heart of the investigation is basketball coach Bruce Pearl's admission that misled NCAA investigators about hosting recruits at a team cookout at his house, amid other recruiting violations by Pearl and his staff.

The NCAA probe also is looking into possible recruiting violations by former football coach Lane Kiffin and his staff during the 2009 season. Tennessee self-reported six minor recruiting violations by Kiffin and his staff and in December acknowledged cooperating with an NCAA investigation into actions by the school's Orange Pride athletics hostess program.

The newest secondary violations were committed during current coach Derek Dooley's tenure.