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Jeremy Pruitt Is Threatening to Go Scorched Earth on Tennessee If the University Doesn't Settle With Him

Our old friend Jeremy Pruitt is back in a big way this week. We hadn't heard much from Big Jerm since he was fired for cause by the University of Tennessee on January 18, leaving behind an NCAA investigation of potential infractions which still has yet to be completed, but he's speaking out now.

Knoxville News-Sentinel — The lawyer representing former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt gave UT an ultimatum this month: Either reach a settlement with Pruitt by Oct. 29, or face a lawsuit that the lawyer claims has the potential to “cripple UT’s athletic programs for years.”

The university intends to stand its ground, with no plans to settle, promising a "vigorous defense" if Pruitt chooses to go to court. A lawsuit is a certainty if there's no settlement, said Michael Lyons, Pruitt’s Texas-based lawyer, in an interview Tuesday with the USA TODAY Network.

"On behalf of my client, I can tell you that he’s not happy that this is the only choice they’ve left him with," Lyons said, "but he’s not going to walk away without getting his day in court.”

"He’s going to file a lawsuit," Lyons added. "They’re not leaving him much choice."

Lyons sent a letter Oct. 7 to UT’s general counsel requesting a meeting to discuss a settlement. 

UT fired Pruitt for cause Jan. 18, saying it had uncovered evidence that members of Pruitt's football staff engaged in conduct likely to result in serious NCAA rules violations and Pruitt failed to monitor their actions or promote an atmosphere of compliance. Because UT fired Pruitt for cause, he did not receive any of the $12.6 million buyout that was part of his contract.

Lyons’ letter made no attempt to defend Pruitt, but instead threatened a lawsuit that would aim to embarrass the university and unmask widespread rule-breaking behavior Lyons alleges extends above and beyond Pruitt’s football staff.

You know, when I was thinking the other day about what Tennessee needs immediately following a national fiasco last Saturday and playing Alabama this Saturday, it was Jeremy Pruitt popping back up out of nowhere with his lawyer and threatening to "cripple" the university for years.

But to be honest with you, I'm not entirely sure what I want UT to do here. On one hand, I certainly don't want Pruitt marching back in like he owns the joint and threatening to cripple the athletic department — I was under the impression that's what he was already trying to do by coaching the football team — unless he gets paid off for cheating and still sucking. On the other, a couple million dollars may be a small price to pay to avoid finding out just how real the dirt is that Pruitt claims to have. With an investigation already ongoing and some sort of sanctions likely on the horizon at some point, it may be worth making a deal with the devil and just cutting your losses.

Rick Barnes is having none of that, though. He went right back at Pruitt and told him to come get some.

Go get his ass, Papa Rick!

It sure sounds like the University of Tennessee has no plans to give Pruitt a dime, which I can certainly appreciate. I just hope that decision doesn't result in any more bullshit we don't need to be dealing with right now. If anyone knows about what malfeasance may or may not have been going on, it's the ringleader.

Damn, I really hate this guy.