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Paul Finebaum Predicts Punishment For Tennessee After Recruiting Violations

An extreme closeup of ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum from the Cotton Bowl in Texas in 2019.

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: TV/radio personality Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network speaks on air before the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The NCAA dropped the hammer on Tennessee's football program this week with 18 Level I violations. 

Tennessee apparently provided $60,000 to recruits, players and their families while Jeremy Pruitt was in charge. He was fired in January of 2021 after an internal investigation found evidence of recruiting violations. 

On Friday afternoon, ESPN's Paul Finebaum reacted to the Tennessee news while on the SEC Network. 

Finebaum doesn't believe Tennessee will be hit that hard over these rules violations. That's because the school was quick to act when it came to moving away from that regime.  

“I don’t think Tennessee’s going to be shut down over this,” Finebaum said. “I’m not really sure they’re going to be hit that hard, the reason being that they jumped on it. The president of Tennessee, Chancellor Donde Plowman, fired Jeremy Pruitt and forced [former athletic director] Phillip Fulmer out."

Finebaum concluded his segment on Tennessee by discussing Fulmer's run as the athletic director of the Volunteers. 

“This reflects more on Phillip Fulmer than really anyone else,” he added. “I was in favor of him returning as athletic director, I thought that was a great return, a historical move for a university. I felt like Fulmer was going to bring everyone together. Instead, he turned out to have made one of the worst coaching decisions any athletic director has ever made.”

Tennessee and everyone involved in this mess have 90 days to respond to the NCAA's notice of allegations.