Tennessee no longer has that NCAA cloud hanging over its head.
After more than a two-year investigation, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions announced Wednesday its final ruling on violations involving UT’s football and men’s basketball programs under previous coaching staffs.
 It was good news for the university and former football coach Lane Kiffin, but bad news for former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and three of his assistant coaches.
"We appreciate the opportunity to close this chapter with the Committee's announcement today, moving forward with no major violations in our football program and no additional penalties from the NCAA," interim athletic director Joan Cronan said in a statement. "The institution cooperated fully with the NCAA and we have a strong culture of compliance, and a bright future is on the horizon for Tennessee athletics."
The NCAA accepted the 20 self-imposed penalties, including a two-year probationary period, effective Aug. 24, 2011, already implemented by UT and the SEC. No additional sanctions were added to either program. There was the possibility of scholarship reductions for both programs and even a post-season ban for the men’s basketball program.    
UT said it will not appeal the NCAA’s decision.
"It is time for the University of Tennessee to put this behind us and look forward," UTK Chancellor Jimmy Cheek. "The NCAA commented very positively about our cooperation. We have worked hard to make things right and that has been accepted by the Committee. We have great coaches and great student-athletes, and now it's time to go out there and compete."
Pearl was given a three-year show-cause penalty for the unethical conduct and failure-to-monitor charges.
"Head coaches bear primary responsibility for monitoring all aspects of their programs and promoting an atmosphere for compliance,” the COI report stated. “It is also presumed that head coaches know or should know of violations in their programs, particularly when the violations occur over an extended period of time."
Three of his assistants--Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay--were all given a one-year show-cause penalty for failing to corporate and act with honesty and sportsmanship. The sanctions essentially ban the former UT coaches from coaching in the NCAA for the duration of their penalties.
Kiffin, who coached only one season at UT before leaving for Southern Cal, will not be penalized by the NCAA after the committee only charged him with committing 12 secondary violations, all involving recruiting.