No Pride in this Orange

It’s said that where there is smoke there is fire. There was enough smoke during the football recruiting scandals at the University of Tennessee during the Lane Kiffin era that the Orange Pride hostess program was shut down.

Now a new book by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict reveals the fire. Kiffin’s coaches paid the hostesses to entertain and “flirt with” recruits, according to the book. One hostess was known as “the Closer” for her ability to sign recruits and was paid $40 in expense money, according to the book, to “hang out with” Bryce Brown, a top running-back recruit who signed with UT. She was also given expense money to travel to a high-school game in South Carolina to recruit Corey Miller. That trip, and the Orange Pride uniform that showed up in a photograph, was enough for a national story about UT recruiting violations.

The book, published by Doubleday, is called The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big Time College Football. The authors are investigative reporters and have worked for CBS and for Sports Illustrated. The book looks at a variety of college football scandals, including at Texas A&M and Ohio State. The Kiffin era at UT is only one part of it.

Kiffin left UT after one year to go to the University of Southern California, leaving the institution to deal with his recruiting violations. He was greeted last weekend by USC fans screaming for him to be fired after his team lost to Washington State. If he is fired, this book may make it hard for him to get another coaching job.

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