“Tennessee-Terrible Times-Guilt by Association”
Pick an adjective-adverb, and it likely fits the storyline-datelined Knoxville.
The University of Tennessee is reeling, on the football field, and now off the football field.
The Volunteers, who gave us Robert Neyland, Johnny Majors and Phil Fulmer as great head coaches, has done an injustice to another coach.
Greg Schiano, a protege of Bill Belicheck, who rebuilt the woeful Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and is now at Ohio State, has now lost an opportunity to return to big time coaching.
UT has backed out on a deal to hire him to fix all the things wrong in the Vols program.
The SEC school caved under a mountain of criticism on social media over the hiring of Schiano, instigated by twitter followers, who believe Schiano knew, or should have known, about the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal in the 1980s, when he was part of the Joe Paterno coaching staff at Penn State.
The program that brought down the legendary Paterno, led to a 30-to-60 year prison sentence to Sandusky for years of abue of teenage boys on campus and in football camps.
Assistant coach Mike McQueary has been paid 12.6M as a settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit.
The schools President, Gerry Spanier, the AD, and VP of security are all serving 3-to-6 month prison terms for not acting quicker on the information they received when McQueary first pointed at Sandusky for wrong doing.
The entire assistant coaching staff was stained, though many have found other coaching jobs.
The year long probe by a law firm, cleared virtually all the other assistants of any knowledge of what was happening on that campus and in those football camps Sandusky worked.
It cleared Schiano, who cooperated fully, though his name was being mentioned in the report, that he did talk to the beach committee.
And now years later, as Schiano tries to get another job, he gets stained, not by the scandal, but the angry spillage of venom on social media.
It has brought rage from those closest to Schiano, who was also a head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Belicheck says a ‘mob mentality-undermine the character of a good coach-saying he as 100% respect and zero reservations about the man”
Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s head coach, called him an ‘elite father-coach-man’ and told the same thing to UT as a reference.
Penn State’s head of the Board of Trustees echoed the same comments in a letter after the scandal broke.
It is indeed a different time we live in. An age of Donald Trump tweets, scandals here there and everywhere, and doubt about everyone on anything.
It’s an Angry America that tweets 240-characters of condemnation without the true information.
The next tweet should be about the ‘lack of spine’ of the leadership at Tennessee, which said it vetted all the data possible before hiring Schiano. Now they back off based on rumor-innuendo-smears.
If he was good enough to coach for Bill Belicheck and Urban Meyer, he should have been allowed to coach the Volunteers.
Instead he has to live thru a personal hell because Twitter America thinks ‘guilt by association is connectable charge.
Maybe he has a right to sue for interference of a contract to take the job. Maybe he should sue. But maybe it would remind us all of the horrible hurt from the era at infected Penn state.
But maybe Greg Schiano does not want to get down in the gutter, to fight thru all the slime of this story.
The gutter, where everyone wearing Volunteer Orange and White, resides these days.