I always thought Barbara Dooley She was the perfect wife for a college football coach. But that was before I read the list Football Recruitment Abuses in Tennessee Under Former Coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Barbara is the wife of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley and the mother of former Utah coach Derek Dooley. She is smart, smart and charming. It’s also a great interview.
But as far as I know, it’s never paid a college player car notice.
Casey Pruitt, Jeremy’s wife, paid a UT player $12,500 in car cash, and $3,000 in cash rent payments to the player and his mother, according to the NCAA, which has charged the folders with 18 Level 1 violations.
You may find it disgusting that the coach’s wife is involved in a cheating scandal. I find it heartening.
Isn’t marriage supposed to be an equal partnership?
I can imagine the wedding vows of Jeremy and Casey. Something like: “I swear to never cheat on you but to cheat with you always.”
Someone should write a country song about it. Or perhaps, Randy Travis could add another verse to his “reasons for cheating” that would include football recruiting.
Allow the wives of other trainers to prepare meals for a group dinner or reach out to the recruit’s parents for an official visit. Casey was fighting in the front lines with her husband. She may have deviated from the NCAA rules, but her heart was in the right place, beating in sync with Jeremy as they tried to raise the volumes to the top tier of the SEC.
Call it a “cheater” if you want to. I call it “ahead of its time” because the NCAA now allows players to earn money from their name, image, and likeness. If Jeremy can’t get another coaching job, Casey can support the family by working for a sports group that connects recruits to schools.
Casey’s involvement in the Tennessee chips away from the old perception of football is quite the men’s world. If a producer made a movie about it, Tennessee consultant Dondy Plowman would get the star bill. But Casey also deserves her name on the marquee screen.
Plowman ordered an internal investigation into UT’s football program that found the Vols guilty of more than just an insufficient crime. Once the investigation concluded that Pruitt’s show was just as bad behind the scenes as in public opinion, she cleaned the house. If not for her actions, the folders would face severe penalties from the NCAA.
So, include Plowman among those who gave their all for Tennessee. But don’t forget about Casey, who apparently realized – and left it to his devices – that Jeremy would train the family into unemployment.
Since Casey was immersed in the football program, former athletics director Philip Vollmer should have given her an office. I think this was one of the 500 or so slips. He clearly did not understand how important Casey was to the football process. She probably worked more hours than he did – if you cut back on the time he spent pretending to be an offensive line coach.
Casey was a car dealer, banker, and even a realtor of sorts if you believe the NCAA report arranged to interview a real estate agent with a recruit’s family.
Despite all her multitasking, she doesn’t get paid. Vollmer made over $1 million annually overseeing the football program (insert your punch line). Perhaps, Casey should have been M.
My guess is we haven’t heard from Casey and Jeremy. He said he looked forward to telling his side of the story.
Perhaps his story is that Casey orchestrated it all. After all, the NCAA does not punish the coach’s wife with a penalty. If the NCAA doesn’t buy that interpretation, Jeremy may have to settle for a high school coaching job.
If that was the case, he wouldn’t have to look beyond his home to find someone capable of leading the program’s booster club.
John Adams is a prominent columnist. He can be contacted at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at: twitter.com/johnadamskns.
This article originally appeared on the Knoxville News Sentinel: Why Casey Pruitt is the perfect wife for a college football coach