Phillip Fulmer couldn’t help himself.
Tennessee’s athletics director was attending practice last fall and saw a couple of offensive linemen whom he thought needed some coaching assistance during a drill. So Fulmer, the former Volunteers coach, jumped in and coached them up just like an old offensive line coach would.
Unfortunately, for Tennessee, that’s an NCAA violation.
Fulmer’s unauthorized participation in practice was among eight NCAA violations that the school reported during the last six months of 2018. Tennessee released a report detailing the violations to USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee in response to a public records request.
Fulmer’s infraction was among three violations by the football program during the six-month period. The women’s basketball program also had three violations, and men’s basketball and softball each had one.
All the violations were rated Level III infractions, which are minor and resulted in mild discipline. For the year, Tennessee self-reported 14 violations, all of which were Level III.
“Level III violations are a byproduct of a healthy compliance program,” Andrew Donovan, UT's associate athletics director for compliance, said in a statement to USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. “There are thousands of NCAA rules and interpretations of those rules, so it is expected that inadvertent, minor violations may occur on occasion.