As suspected, the NCAA investigation isn't just about two anonymous hostesses attending a high school game in South Carolina, it's also about Tennessee's use of social media, and like we said yesterday, if the current rules don't specifically address Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, then this could be more about the routine exploiting and closing of loopholes.
For his part, Lane Kiffin (not surprisingly) agrees with the whole "more success equals more complaints" notion:
I know that we've done a phenomenal job in recruiting. I know that it's very competitive around the country with the kids that we go after and within this conference. I think that anytime you're operating at the level we're operating at in recruiting, people are going to come after us.
People are going to question what we're doing, and as head coach it's my job to make sure that we're doing everything by the rules - and we are. We're excited about the direction we're going, and people will always try to take shots at us, they'll always try to bring us down, but it won't matter.
In any event, Kiffin's not in a hurry to come to any conclusions. Well, other than comparing this report from the NYT with the one they ran last year suggesting that Tennessee or Bryce Brown or Brian Butler had done something wrong when they hadn't:
What you've seen of me is I like to get all the information in, research what's going on, not jump to conclusions, and this is something that's had a lot of national run, been in a lot of media. I think what I compare it to in this situation is I go back to the Bryce Brown situation right before the season. That got a lot of national media attention, a lot of SportsCenter attention that the Tennessee staff maybe had some involvement in illegal recruiting of Bryce Brown, that Bryce Brown did some things illegal.
There was an investigation into that and it ended up with no wrongdoing. I look for this to be the exact same situation, a lot of stuff being said and in the end when the research is done and conclusions aren't being made, the same result will happen.
- Kiffin's viewing the Chick-fil-A Bowl as another opportunity to make a splash in Georgia with recruits. Billboards, helicopters, and bowl games. What's next? By the way, did you know that the Vols' bowl game against Virginia Tech will be the only football game on TV at that time? And that the Chick-fil-A takes four places in ESPN's top 15 all-time highest bowl numbers?
- A bit of good news. Eric Berry won the Thorpe Award last night. Chest bump to him. Chest bumps also to Aaron Douglas and Herman Lathers for being named to the coaches Freshman All-SEC team. Did you know that Douglas played his new position of right tackle for the last nine games of the season and allowed just 1.5 sacks in more than 700 plays and was second on the o-line with 58 pancakes?
- A bit of bad news. Linebackers coach Lance Thompson is a strong candidate to join Charlie Strong's staff at Louisville. Argh. Glad for Charlie and all (both because he deserves it and because he'll no longer be at Florida), but . . . Lance, too!?
- Going to really miss this guy. Eddie Gran got a sweet deal at Florida State, and Lane Kiffin had some great things to say about him (duplicate link) yesterday:
We’ll miss Eddie, he got a great opportunity. He wants to be a head coach, and to go be the assistant head coach there was an opportunity he really couldn’t pass up. We’re very excited for him. To kind of show what kind of guy Eddie is and our relationship with him, Eddie just left the office today. He’s been here the last three days even though he doesn’t work for us anymore, watching Virginia Tech for us and developing a plan for what he thinks we should do against them and writing it all down. He’s going to go over that with me, and it kind of describes what type of guy he is.
Add that guy next to Trooper Taylor's name on the list of guys I'd love to see return if we ever have a better opportunity for them on Rocky Top.
- The basketball Vols are playing MTSU tonight at 7:00. We'll have the open thread, as always.
- Swiperboy's got a new video, and he's getting some help from CBS Sports in promoting it and a related contest: