Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Vols AD supports coach under fire

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart stood by his embattled football coach Thursday and said his department doesn't interfere with the school's disciplinary process, two weeks after a lawsuit alleged that UT mishandles sexual assault complaints against athletes.

"I trust Butch Jones implicitly," Hart said. "I know who he is. I know what his work ethic is. I know what he's meant to this university, well beyond the department of athletics, and I know how he's represented the university."

Jones was at the center of an amended complaint filed Wednesday. The complaint stated former Vols football player Drae Bowles assisted a woman who said she had been raped by two other players and that later he was attacked by teammates and told by Jones he had "betrayed the team."

The coach has said he only tried to assist Bowles.

Hart said he has tremendous empathy and sympathy for alleged victims and all victims of sexual assault.

"It is simply an unacceptable act," he said, adding that university chancellor Jimmy Cheek has made this his top priority. "This has to gain the attention of everyone."

Hart said UT athletes who have allegedly committed a crime don't get treated any differently than general students facing the same circumstances.

"We are not the judge and jury," Hart said. "We have to remember that each person is entitled to due process. … We don't engage in the investigations that take place."

The lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 9 in Nashville, states Tennessee has violated Title IX regulations and created a "hostile sexual environment" through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes. It also states the school interfered with the disciplinary process to favor male athletes. The suit now includes eight unidentified women as plaintiffs.

According to the suit, Tim Rogers stepped down as UT's vice chancellor in 2013 "in protest over the violation of Title IX and the UT administration's and athletic department's deliberate indifference to the clear and present danger of sexual assaults by UT athletes." The amended complaint submitted Wednesday included a signed declaration from Rogers confirming the accuracy of statements made about him.

PARALYZED WR GETTING NEW HOME: Devon Gales, who played defensive back and special teams for Southern when he suffered a paralyzing neck injury during a September game at Georgia, is returning to his home in Baton Rouge, La., with the promise his family soon will have a new home designed to accommodate his needs. The player's parents wiped away tears when it was announced funds are being raised for a new home accessible to his wheelchair. The news conference in Athens, Ga., was designed to give the family a chance to say thank you to the community one day after Gales was released from the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta.

GATOR HIRE: Florida hired longtime college and NFL assistant Bret Ingalls as an offensive quality control assistant. Ingalls, 55, spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Saints.

Vols AD supports coach under fire 02/25/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  2. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) reacts after scoring during the third period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  5. Ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle returns to practice after cancer diagnosis

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last month, was back on the ice with his Devils teammates Sunday after getting cleared to practice for the first time since his diagnosis.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]