Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt isn’t mincing words when it comes to the Cade Mays eligibility issue.
Pruitt believes Mays, who transferred to Tennessee earlier this year from Georgia, should be cleared by the SEC in time for UT’s game against South Carolina this weekend.
(The NCAA has already cleared Mays, the Vols are simply waiting on the SEC now.)
On Wednesday morning, during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Pruitt took a position that I think every college football coach should be taking.
“As coaches, we have the opportunity at any point in time, to choose if we want to go take another job,” said Pruitt. “There’s not a penalty for coaches. Why should there be one for student-athletes?”
Pruitt is absolutely right. It’s completely silly that coaches can leave whenever they want and their only concern is a buyout (that’s almost always paid by the program they’re heading to next).
College sports are supposed to center around student-athletes. Instead, they center around the folks making the big bucks — the NCAA leaders, the head coaches, and the commissioners.
Pruitt is right to point out the freedom coaches have. And he’s right to criticize the NCAA and SEC for not allowing student-athletes to have that same freedom (especially in the midst of a pandemic).
We already knew the NCAA didn’t put student-athletes first. But at least they cleared Mays. The SEC not clearing Mays, or waiting until the last minute, is not a good look. If they’re going to clear Mays, why make him wait? And if they’re not, they should’ve let him (and the team) know before now.
Regardless of what happens in the coming days, this whole situation has been handled poorly by the NCAA and the SEC.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports