Here is a list of things I am not:
- A lawyer
- Someone who personally knows any of the individuals mentioned in the lawsuit
- Someone who knows the full details of any steps Butch Jones, Dave Hart, Jimmy Cheek, or anyone else in the athletic department or the university has taken in the past to address this issue behind the scenes
- Should Tennessee settle this lawsuit?
- If they don't, who will win?
- How much credit should we give Butch Jones, etc. for immediately suspending players who have faced these allegations?
- How will all of this impact Tennessee in recruiting, on the field, or with the NCAA?
Two weeks ago Vice Chancellor Vince Carilli sent an email to all UT students with information on the university's response to reports of sexual assault. He wrote, "It is important that victims are able to trust that our campus will support them if they choose to report a sexual assault." This is the trust that is most important. When people throw around words like trust and integrity, I'm not worried about how good any of the Vice Chancellors can feel about their reputation. I'm far more concerned with the freedom, safety, and trust a victim feels and has in the reporting and recovery process, and far more concerned with the education and accountability presented by the athletics department and campus itself, for all students, so that real personal development might take place and these things might never see the light of day. Not because they are reported less, but because they happen less, and are reported more when they do. That's the culture we want to build, at Tennessee and everywhere. When colleges and athletic departments tell the parents of 17 and 18 year olds they want to help make their children not just better athletes or better students, but better people, they really are talking about their most important work. Situations like this make us question the honesty of that work, and hopefully in turn make us even more committed, from Jimmy Cheek, Dave Hart, Butch Jones, and all involved, to a culture that continually evolves into something healthy instead of something that needs to be tampered with when all parties involved didn't do a good job with student development.
"Well, (those are) issues that are across campuses, unfortunately," said Jones when asked about the federal investigation. "There's no place for it. We spend a lot of time with our player welfare and development. It's not just an in-season, off-season program. It's a year-round education program. Again, these are issues across campus. It's nationwide. So, we are going to do anything and everything we can to continue to educate our players."
Jones then summarized the message he will deliver to his players on the topic when they arrive for fall camp next month.
"We talk about it every day that we are together," Jones said. "And again, these are societal issues. Unfortunately, that's where we are at right now. But just, it's the whole education process. We talk about the one-second rule. In one second, your life can change at any moment."