When it comes to the state of the Tennessee Volunteers’ athletic programs, it is safe to say that things could not get much worse than where they are right now.
Just over a month ago, six former students brought a lawsuit against the school on behalf of former athletic trainer Dr. Jamie Naughright that stated a former football player had “sat on her face” while she was assessing an injury.
That player turned out to be surefire Hall of Fame inductee and NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning. This lawsuit came out just hours after he led the Denver Broncos to their first Super Bowl championship since 1999, but the allegations had been rumored since he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998.
That was just the first of many things that sent the Volunteers down the rabbit hole over the last month. Just a week ago, former player Drae Bowles accused current head coach Butch Jones of calling him a “traitor” after he wanted to help a woman who alleged that two other players had sexually assaulted her.
Jones and many other players, both current and former, have come out to label those allegations as false, but that does not mean the school was let off the hook so easily. Athletic director Dave Hart has since spoken out about the allegations of the school having a “rape culture” and said he is proud of how far the school has came in the wake of such allegations.
If this was not enough for the Volunteers, the basketball programs have been hit just as hard as of late. The men’s team was smacked with more than a dozen NCAA recruiting violations that involve former coach Donnie Tyndall.
The team has since had to vacate wins under the coach and give up a handful of scholarships. This has, in turn, led to the team staring one of their worst seasons in program history dead in the face.
As for the women’s team, they just have not been the same since long-time coach Pat Summitt retired due to her dementia diagnosis. They are looking at a 17-12 record and just recently fell out of the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in 31 years
The Lady Vols have made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1977, but it looks like that streak could come to an abrupt halt without a win in the SEC tournament in just two weeks.
It is safe to say that things in Knoxville are not good right now. It is certainly not looking like the Good Ol’ Rocky Top many used to know and love.