The University of Tennessee has taken a lot of backlash the last couple of weeks due to the recent Title IX lawsuit. Sixteen head coaches from every sport decided to bond together to take a stand against the allegations which has reflected negativity against their athletics. Those who took part are Butch Jones, women’s basketball coach Holly Warwick and many others. Even those like softball coach Karen Weekly and men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes put in their two cents worth on the situation.
All the allegations stem from six students suing the university for creating a hostile sexual environment. The lawsuit claims that they were sexually assaulted by student-athletes over the last few years. Even though no charges were filed, the victims felt the athletic department and the university overall were negligent in their efforts to bring justice.
Possibly the biggest story from the lawsuit is involving former quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning was mentioned in the lawsuit accusing him of assault on a trainer going back 20 years ago. No charges were brought, but a lawsuit was filed against the university, but was later settled while the former trainer decided to resign to close the case. Tennessee had filed a motion to have Manning’s reference removed from the lawsuit, as they feel that since the incident was over 20 years old, it should have no bearing on the case.
Those who have stepped up to speak out on the entire matter is the coaches. So far no one else as those who are over at the athletic department have spoken about the issue. We all have to imagine what’s going through the athletic department’s mind right now. This is more about football and basketball. This is about 16 Tennessee coaches from all sports stepping into the spotlight and having the guts to defend their culture and how they have handled every situation positively.
If these hard working coaches didn’t step up to defend the University of Tennessee, it appeared that no one within the athletic department would have. No doubt they all feel what the victims have went through. This isn’t about handing down a verdict against one another. This is about all Tennessee coaches coming together to defend what they have taught: culture and respect.
Would their bosses have done the same?
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law