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Tennessee Finds No NCAA Violations

October 29, 1999

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ An internal investigation by the University of Tennessee found that academic cheating by athletes didn’t rise to the level of an NCAA infraction.

``I am satisfied that our investigation has been complete on all the allegations, that we have not uncovered anything and we are going about our business,″ athletic director Doug Dickey said Thursday.

However, school provost John Peters said the matter wasn’t settled entirely.

``I’m going to call for a review of the academic tutoring services that are provided to student-athletes,″ he told The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Peters said he wants to talk to professors about their concerns and recommendations for changes in the program.

Linda Bensel-Meyers, director of the English department’s composition program who oversees the athletic department tutors, said she supported an academic review since the investigation seemed focused only on NCAA violations.

The university’s two-page report concluded a month-long investigation by the general counsel’s office into allegations that tutors did homework for athletes and supervisors failed to tell their superiors when professors complained.

The probe was sparked by an article in ESPN’s Internet magazine Sept. 26 alleging that tutors gave improper help to athletes, particularly football players, as far back as 1995.

More than 20 current and former university employees and eight current or former Tennessee athletes were interviewed. None was named in the report, which has been sent to the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference.

``In no instance did a student-athlete identified in the course of this investigation receive an added benefit in violation of NCAA bylaws,″ associate general counsel Ronald Leadbetter wrote.

The investigators found no evidence a tutor ``wrote, typed or otherwise authored a paper″ for any athlete in violation of rules. They did find one case in which a tutor typed a paper in ``good faith″ from an athlete’s dictation. But the athlete received no credit for it and had to redo the assignment.

The report said there was no ``cover-up″ in violation of NCAA bylaws.

But it did find unnamed ``athletics department academic support officials″ failed to inform Dickey and NCAA compliance officer Malcolm McInnis about ``reports of possible plagiarism″ from professors and ``the investigative results″ used to dismiss them.

Dickey called that a ``mistake″ though not so great to break the rules.

``The lack of promptness does not constitute an NCAA violation,″ he said. However, ``a prior reporting of these issues would have possibly avoided this controversy.″

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