Tennessee assistant coach resigns amid NCAA probe

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Tennessee assistant coach Adam Howard has resigned from his position, effective immediately, for “personal reasons,” according to the school’s sports information department.

Howard, a first-year Tennessee assistant, has worked with new Volunteers head coach Donnie Tyndall for five years with stops at Morehead State, Southern Mississippi and Tennessee. Howard is believed to have a role in the NCAA investigation of events from Tyndall and his staff’s time in Hattiesburg.

As first reported by 24/7 Sports’ Wes Rucker, Tennessee officials refused to comment on whether Howard’s resignation was NCAA-related, but Rucker said that sources indicated that Howard left because of the investigation. Multiple sources also echoed similar sentiments to NBCSports.com on Monday evening and said they believed Howard left because of the probe.

Southern Mississippi is under investigation by the NCAA for rules violations involving “Prop 48″ players brought into the program under Tyndall.

“Prop 48″ players are recruits that are ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA when they enter college. According to a story last month from Bleacher Report‘s Jason King, the players in question weren’t on scholarship at Southern Miss, but they enrolled in classes and lived in apartments in Hattiesburg while taking the credits they needed to get eligible. Where the resources for tuition and rent came from is what the NCAA investigating.

It looks like Howard will be the first to take a fall in the wake of this investigation and it will be interesting to see what the NCAA has to say on the matter when they release their report or comment. This won’t affect Tennessee’s program directly besides losing a current assistant, but it could have ramifications for its head coach and some of his other staff members in terms of recruiting restrictions or some other penalty.