Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that some prominent Tennessee boosters are putting the pressure on to remove John Currie from his position as athletics director.
Am told there's increasing pressure now from big-money #Vols boosters to force #Tennessee AD John Currie out in the wake of Sunday's news. UT source told me: "This is such a hot mess. Just when you think they’ve gotten out of the ditch. They’ve fallen into a much bigger one.”— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 27, 2017
This was predicable, following a tumultuous day which ended in Currie being forced to nix his attempted hire of Greg Schiano. It was a fascinating moment where the fans and former players revolted and succeeded. It’s apparent that plenty of boosters weren’t on board with the hire either.
Tennessee was already viewed nationally as a bit of a buzzsaw and soap opera. Yesterday didn’t help that. However, Volunteer fans were totally within their right to stand up and voice their opinion against a wildly unpopular hire.
The simple fact here is that Currie should have never gone down this road in the first place. Read this from Andy Staples.
The vetting process is supposed to bring every potential land mine into view before a school gets too far down the road with a candidate. When a candidate is potentially controversial, a school will often leak that it is considering that candidate as a trial balloon. Had Currie floated such a balloon in the past few days, Tennessee’s fan base would have reacted in similar fashion. The difference is the sides wouldn’t already have a Memorandum of Understanding. The Vols could have moved on to another candidate without a full-on revolt that will wind up making the search even more difficult going forward.
Andy hits the nail on the head here. “Tone-deaf” was the best phrase I saw to describe this situation. A quick spin around the message board world should have told you all that you needed to know about how this was going to be received. And that’s not to say that Currie should operate based off what the fans think — that’s a scary road to wander down. But it was the simple fact that this was a near uniform refusal.
This situation was avoidable, but Currie willingly walked right into it — making Tennessee a circus once again. It’s totally understandable that the big money boosters would want to move on here. That would raise all sorts of questions about who would lead the search going forward, however.
As Feldman’s source said, “this is such a hot mess.” Yes it is — and it starts directly at the top.