Lawyer for former Vols coach Pruitt sets deadline for settlement

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An attorney representing former Tennessee Vols football coach Jeremy Pruitt has set an Oct. 29 deadline to reach a financial settlement or face a lawsuit.

A letter was sent Oct. 7 to the University of Tennessee’s general counsel Ryan Stinnett requesting a meeting to resolve the former coach’s demands for a $12.6 million buyout that he claims is owed after being fired in January for alleged rules violations within the Vols football program.

UT terminated Pruitt’s contract with cause and have said Pruitt is owed nothing.

Pruitt’s lawyer Michael Lyons of Dallas says in the letter that a lawsuit would be a “no-win situation for UT” and “could ensnare the parties for years to come, impugn the university’s reputation further, and potentially cripple UT’s athletic programs for years,” according to ESPN.

The contents of the letter were first reported by the USA Today Network.

ESPN said the letter goes on to say that upper administration “ignored and covered up” several NCAA violations during Pruitt’s tenure and some that occurred before he was hired.

In a response to ESPN, Stinnett wrote that the university “declines to participate in any informal or formal settlement negotiations with your client. The University maintains that it had proper cause to terminate your client for breach of his employment agreement in January, and our position has only strengthened since then.”

In Lyon’s letter to Tennessee, he requested the athletic department preserve records from UT donors to student-athletes and documents related to Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes, former athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others.

Barnes replied to ESPN saying “I would invite the NCAA to come in any day of the week and investigate our program.”

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