In 2011, tennessee football was under an NCAA investigation due to recruiting violations that were committed during their one year under head coach Lane Kiffin. Now, as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, Kiffin is daring to question the Vols’ recruiting tactics because he lost out to them on a battle for a top prospect.
last week, on The Rich Eisen Show, Kiffin singled out Rocky Top without naming them when discussing how the Name-Image-Likeness deals are changing the landscape of college football. The story centered around five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava, who committed to UT in March.
Based on reporting from The Athletic, rumors have been swirling that Iamaleava received a NIL deal that could be worth up to $8 million. Kiffin, with his comments from him, was clearly taking a shot at Tennessee football relative to that deal. Here’s what he said.
“You’re going to have all these locker room dynamics, you’ve got a player coming into school over there in East Tennessee for $8 million who hasn’t played a down. You’ve got a locker room saying, wait, what if the guy doesn’t play, how’s that going to work? How’s the donor going to feel that he paid all that money when the guy’s not playing. You’ve got a lot of things that haven’t been figured out at all.”
Whether or not the deal is true, to paraphrase Will Smith, Kiffin should KEEP THE VOLS’ NAME OUT HIS MOUTH!!! Given his past recruiting tactics that got UT into trouble, the fact that Iamaleava’s is not confirmed and his own track record of taking advantage of the rules, his comments on him ooze hypocrisy.
Going back to that NCAA investigation in 2011, Kiffin bolted UT in early 2010 after one season, going 7-6 in 2009. It was bad enough that he dismissed tons of Phillip Fulmer’s players to make room for his own recruits, only to see half those recruits either become busts or take them with him to USC.
What made it worse was he left Derek Dooley with a mess on top of that attrition because of violations he and his staff committed there. They were responsible for 12 secondary violations, and Dooley had to deal with that over his head for every class he had to sign.
By the time Rocky Top was cleared of those violations in August of 2011, the damage was done, and Dooley spent his entire time coaching Tennessee football with a short stick as a result. How could Kiffin, of all people, be the one to then question UT’s recruiting now?
It’s also all speculation at this point to suggest Iamaleava got that deal. You might say it’s speculation to infer Kiffin was referring to the Vols with his quote from him, but which is more likely? It’s pretty obvious Kiffin is talking about him.
There’s also no argument for what Kiffin is saying. First off, based off his own history of violations, it’s clear he doesn’t care about certain players getting special benefits. This is no different than how it works with disparity in the NFL. Josh Heupel can address this just like Kiffin can.
When it comes to taking advantage of existing rules, something Kiffin also implied, he really has no room to talk. Last year, Kiffin and Ole Miss brazenly applied the tactic of faking injuries to slow down teams who play up-tempo. That’s how they beat Tennessee football.
Taking all of this into account, Kiffin has no right to discuss the Vols’ recruiting methods. His concern about him is n’t even genuine, so what’s his real motivation about him? The only logical conclusion is that he wants to create a rift in UT’s locker room because he lost out on Iamaleava.
Ever since leaving Tennessee football, Kiffin hasn’t been able to resist trolling them whenever he gets a chance. You’d think he was the bitter one who wronged the Vols instead of the other way around. This is another example of that, but he’s got a ton of nerve commenting on this.