Tennessee Allegedly Handed Recruits McDonald’s Bags Stuffed With Money

The Tennessee Volunteers became a late addition to college football’s coaching carousel on Monday. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt got the pink slip following an internal investigation into the program which, per ESPN, claimed that “the conduct by at least two assistant coaches and several recruiting staff members are likely to lead to an NCAA finding of Level I and/or Level II violations of one or more Governing Athletic Rules. The University also has concluded that these likely findings were the result of either your material neglect or lack of reasonable preventive compliance measures.”

Pruitt ended up getting fired for cause, but the biggest question amid all of this is what exactly happened that led to Pruitt’s ouster at the conclusion of his second year in Knoxville. The answer, per Dan Patrick, involves money, recruits, and bags from McDonald’s.

“I was told that there’s a few things that are going on here, and I asked my source, I said, ‘How did they get these assistant coaches on recruiting violations?'” Patrick said on his radio show on Tuesday morning. “And he said, ‘Well, they put money into McDonald’s bags and gave them to the recruits when they came on campus. Some of the campus visits were not organized, or they were not above board, but they were handing out cash.'”

After a little crosstalk, Patrick claimed his source made clear that the Volunteers were blatant with their operation to the point that the NCAA had to step in.

“You literally had bag men, and they put the cash in McDonald’s bags and handed it to the recruits,” Patrick said. “My source said they were so in your face with this, they weren’t even trying to hide it. And that’s where my source said Tennessee got sloppy — Georgia has gotten sloppy, but there’s been no word on the NCAA looking at Georgia. But Tennessee, they got sloppy, and they were handing out cash in McDonald’s bags.”

Now, Patrick is not a frequent college football newsbreaker or anything like that, so it does come out of left field that he’s the one who broke this news. Still, this entire ordeal — from the circumstances surrounding Pruitt’s hiring to the circumstances surrounding his firing — was described by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports as “plain-old incompetence,” and there are few things that would be more incompetent than bringing “Happy Meal” to a whole different level.