Tenn. flagship university awards Jimmy Haslam top alumni honour despite ongoing Pilot probe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee has granted its top alumni award to Jimmy Haslam despite the ongoing federal investigation into his family’s company, Pilot Flying J, and its legal settlement with thousands of trucking company customers.

Haslam is the CEO of Pilot, the country’s largest diesel retailer, and the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. His brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, chairs the university’s board of trustees.

The state’s flagship public university announced that Jimmy Haslam was one of four people given its Distinguished Alumnus Award, the school’s highest honour for graduates who have “excelled in their field on the national or international stage and have brought credit to UT.”

A school spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether the probe into rebate fraud at Pilot was considered by the panel that selected Haslam. A spokeswoman for Jimmy Haslam did not immediately return a message seeking comment.