Tennessee hires expert lawyers to help with investigation of Vols football program

Blake Toppmeyer
Knoxville News Sentinel

The University of Tennessee has hired two Overland Park, Kansas-based attorneys to assist its internal investigation into whether the Vols football program committed NCAA rules violations, Knox News has learned.

Lawyers Mike Glazier and Kyle Skillman will work alongside the university. Glazier is well-known for his work on investigations involving college athletics.

"We take seriously our institutional commitment to NCAA compliance, and are reviewing regulatory issues that have been brought to our attention," university spokeswoman Tyra Haag said in a statement Monday to Knox News.

"As part of that process, we are currently working with attorneys Kyle Skillman and Michael Glazier with Bond, Schoeneck & King. We will provide additional information when it’s appropriate."

Tennessee's internal investigation became public during the Vols' Dec. 19 regular-season football finale against Texas A&M.

The internal investigation of the football program pertains to allegations of recruiting violations and impermissible benefits to athletes, a source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to Knox News on Dec. 20.

"Anytime in college football or college athletics, you have typical compliance stuff,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said after the Dec. 19 game against the Aggies. “That is all I know."

The investigation is the latest blow for Pruitt, who has a 16-19 record through three seasons. Tennessee went 3-7 in 2020, one of the worst records in program history. Pruitt is under contract through Jan. 31, 2026, and Tennessee would owe him a buyout of $12.7 million if it fired him without cause.

Glazier, who worked seven years on the NCAA’s enforcement staff, has represented universities in scores of NCAA cases since the 1980s. He has worked with UT previously.

Glazier assisted the university more than a decade ago during the NCAA's probe of the athletic department that led to the 2011 firing of men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

Glazier has represented Louisville during multiple men’s basketball investigations, and he's credited with helping UNLV men's basketball avoid the so-called death penalty as a result of rules violations from the 1997 recruitment of Lamar Odom.

He helped Oregon football avoid a major penalty from an investigation involving a $25,000 payment to a scout, and assisted Missouri during multiple NCAA investigations, including an academic fraud case that resulted in a bowl ban during the 2019 season. 

“Michael Glazier is one of the most respected lawyers who appears in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions,” Rodney Uphoff, a professor emeritus in Missouri’s School of Law, said in 2017. Uphoff served on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions for six years, beginning in 2009.

“He has a very, very good reputation. I think he’s a very good lawyer, and he does an excellent job representing his clients. He has a lot of credibility with the NCAA because he’s well-known as a very strict-talking, good lawyer.”

Skillman also advises NCAA institutions during enforcement investigations and helps universities investigate and report NCAA rules violations. 

Glazier and former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive founded the Slive/Glazier Sports Group, the first sports law practice devoted to representing colleges in NCAA-related matters, before Glazier joined Bond, Schoeneck & King in Overland Park, home to the NCAA until it moved its headquarters to Indianapolis in 1999.

The BSK firm, on its website, explains its goal in representing universities. It notes that if evidence of a violation is lacking, the firm aims to defend that position. If the firm finds that a violation has occurred or that an allegation is justified, it works to help the university improve its NCAA compliance and help mitigate NCAA penalties, prevent future violations and protect the reputation of the university and its athletics program.

Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake's subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.