Starting Tuesday night, the carolina panthers had violated NFL rules regarding the search for a permanent head coach, multiple sources told CBS Sports.

A league executive called the Panthers Wednesday morning to remind the team that all members of its search committee were required to complete mandatory inclusive hiring training before beginning the search, which has now seen Five coaching candidates will be interviewed..

According to the sources, Nicole Tepper, the wife of Panthers owner David Tepper and managing director of Tepper Sports & Entertainment, had not completed the required inclusive recruiting training to participate in the interviews as of Tuesday night.

“Inclusive recruiting training is a key element of our efforts to foster a fair hiring process,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in a statement. “Any suggestions that the applicable clubs did not comply with this mandatory requirement will be promptly addressed and corrected.”

Following a request for comment, a team spokesperson said in a statement: “She was trained before taking part in the interviews.” No further elaboration was given.

Multiple sources have refuted the Panthers’ statement. It is not clear if the league plans to apply any punishment to the team.

The NFL added this requirement at the fall league meeting in October and earlier in the month. CBS Sports reported more in depth on the requirement..

On December 2, the league sent a memo to all teams, and it included CEOs, club presidents, head coaches and general managers. In Step 1B of the memo, near the top of the page, the league instructs teams that inclusive recruiting training is required.

“Club owners and key decision makers (those involved in candidate selection) must participate in inclusive recruitment training before beginning the search,” the memo reads. “Please review the appendix for a list of League office-approved recruiting coaches. You have the option to select any of the listed recruiting coaches or select your own with League office approval” .

The league then offers eight different advisory/consultant groups to take the mandatory training with links on how to access this information. One source said the teams received multiple emails and correspondence about the importance of all search committee members attending the training in person.

Although general manager Scott Fitterer said two weeks ago that “it’s not going to be a large group” interviewing for the boss job, the Panthers have now requested at least a dozen coaches.

As of Thursday night, the Panthers had already interviewed Steve Wilks, Jim Caldwell, Frank Reich, Shane Steichen and Ejiro Evero.

Carolina has seen two coaching candidates withdraw from consideration in the past week. patriots Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo retired over the weekend while working on a contract extension in New England. lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson surprisingly with removing his name from consideration Tuesday night, one day before the scheduled interview date. Many in the league considered Johnson to be the frontrunner for the job.

The Panthers had requested permission to interview San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, but any potential interviews are now on hold due to what a league source called a logistical issue.

David Tepper is now looking for his third permanent head coach since buying the team in 2018. Tepper inherited Ron Rivera and fired him near the end of the 2019 season. He hired Matt Rhule in 2020 before firing Rhule five weeks after the 2022 season.

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