Mark Wiedmer: Hamilton must address Vols' image problems

UT Men's Athletics Director Mike Hamilton

Photo by J. Miles Cary

UT Men's Athletics Director Mike Hamilton

— The University of Tennessee athletic department is developing an image problem. Possibly a big one.

With Friday's announcement that basketball players Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins were arrested on gun and drug charges following a routine traffic stop near campus, UT is in danger of becoming the new millennium version of 1980s Miami football or 1990s UNLV basketball.

Without the national championship bling, of course.

Not seven weeks after three Big Orange football players were briefly charged with attempted armed robbery -- charges that later forced football coach Lane Kiffin to dismiss freshmen Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards -- another embarrassing and troubling incident has slam-dunked Bruce Pearl's hoops program.

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 106

TommyJack writes:

How can you argue with this article?

vet4ut writes:

Reasonable article...if you're writing for the Daily Beacon.
"Change the headbands and socks"? How about Hammy simply tells our athletes that these behaviors will no longer be tolerated? And mean it.

5pcChickenDinner writes:

Bench will be a little thin on Wednesday.

Ringside writes:

Embarrassing. Start making changes now before UT becomes the Miami of the 80's

vol88 writes:

As a Tennessean, a UT alumnus and a 40-year fan, (and Giles County native, Tyler), I am horrified by these incidents. I'm starting to think this thug athlete culture that we're breeding goes all the way to Hamilton's desk. Get it under control, Mike. Period.

UTMBA2007 writes:

I agree - Mr. Hamilton. It is YOUR responsibility to get this program under control. If you do not get rid of your problems, your problems will get rid of you!

mikec1000000 writes:

The University of Tennessee is starting to look like the University of Thugs. It's time for Hamiltion to get the programs in line. If he can't, then it's time for someone to take over for Hamilton. The football incident was embarassing enough. The basketball deal is too much.

Ringside writes:

in response to UTMBA2007:

I agree - Mr. Hamilton. It is YOUR responsibility to get this program under control. If you do not get rid of your problems, your problems will get rid of you!

Concur. It will be interesting to see what "stance' he takes. If he doesn't reel these issues in, he needs to be the first to go.

volsoutwest writes:

This stuff is beginning to get embarrassing. Time to get it under control. We are fast becoming "Thug University."

PEYDAY writes:

Is it really too much to ask that our athletes not get arrested? Seriously, is that too much to ask for getting a free education?

PEYDAY writes:

in response to mikec1000000:

The University of Tennessee is starting to look like the University of Thugs. It's time for Hamiltion to get the programs in line. If he can't, then it's time for someone to take over for Hamilton. The football incident was embarassing enough. The basketball deal is too much.

I could not agree more.

Singaporehillbilly writes:

Hamilton has created this masterpiece. Time for him to go.

Psychovol writes:

Clean house and lay down the law for UT athletes. This kind of behavior can't hold. It's a disgrace.

OrangePride writes:

This article is spot on! The image of Tennessee atheletes had actually been improving until the stupid incident with Richardson, et. al. this fall. But now we add this to stack, plus all the Kiffin dustups with secondary violations and you can see a real problem........one that ESPN will enjoy playing up this winter. It is past time for a real house straightening. And I fully agree, get rid of the head bands and sloppy togs all around. Institute some policies and codes of behavior that are stronger, enforceable, and provide a positive individual and team spirit.......no guns would be a real good start! And finally...........Kiff needs to polish his image and do it now! HE is the public face of Tennessee football and right now, it could use a facelift. Brash is fine in small doses, but the results of this season do not lend themself to "brash" or "arrogant" or even "outspoken." Take a look at the public images of CBP and CPS and make those your model. This nightmare has GOT TO END!

volsoutwest writes:

First let me say, "I am a Vol through and through and have been behind both Pearl and Kiffin from the get-go." However, I am getting a little tired of some of the braggadocia and arrogance particularly on Coach Kiffin's part. The apparent dissing of Coach Beamer bothers me a bit, even though CLK tried to explain it away. Come on guys let's get our house in order as I, for one, do not like being compared with Miami U as Thug U.

RollTideJoe writes:

Starting??

RJ_Vol writes:

I believe Hamilton's chance to fix this has come and gone. Often "hooliganism" is used to describe the fans of a team. In this case, "hooliganism" probably best describes those players who have been involved in shoplifting, drug use, and firearm issues. In my opinion, Mike Hamilton has had his own problems on many fronts including, but not limited to, improper vetting of prospective coaches, poor representation during the bowl selection process, multiple mishandlings of discipline issues, and an an overall lack of creating good publicity around the program. He simply does not get UT's name out there in a positive light, and his recent attempts have been anemic. In my opinion, the University of Tennessee needs to stop in its tracks this perception of thuggery. It's time to show we mean business, and I'm not sure this athletic director is capable. His track record does not reflect this. And finally, the black jerseys in football were a symptom of this culture. I have nothing against the color black - nothing. However, I do have a problem with changing UT's traditional colors to suit players' personal tastes. Our colors are orange and white, and there is nothing wrong with that. If we have to sell a player on our unversity by changing our colors, then we don't need him. The lack of orange and white is reflected in our basketball arena as well. The message needs to be this, "We would love for you to get an education at our great university while playing for a superior sports program. However, if you choose to defame the university with your behavior then your scholarship is expendable. You will reach our expectations...we will not stoop to reach yours. Our colors are orange and white. We have played for championships in those colors, and will continue to do so. If you do drugs, you won't play for us. If you don't go to class, you won't play for us. If you work hard in the classroom and on the field, you may get a shot at playing - even if it is just scout team or special teams. This is our University. This is our turf. Play by our rules or go home."

BustaRhymes writes:

Hamilton must go - time for a grassroots fire Mike Hamilton campaign. PS - wondering if I need to bring me Kevlar vest to our next home game...

kdub writes:

as i've said before, everyone get off of Hamilton, he can't be with the athletes 24/7. he is a good AD. here's a crazy idea--how about the student athlete accepting accountability for their own actions especially since they are adult age and know the consequences for their actions. i will say this, CBP has no choice but to kick these guys off the team, if he doesn't then UT will no doubt have a serious problem. very disappointed in all of them but especially Tyler, he has a child and is the team captain. i've noticed all along this season this team has lacked a credible leader and now it has been proven. Tyler and these other jokers let their teammates down.

jojovol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

loridollar08#1378397 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Psychovol writes:

in response to loridollar08#1378397:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You can't spell stupid without UT.

CrankE writes:

Remember the outrage when on the Don Imus show, the comments were made about Rugters women's team?

Nobody deserves those kind of comments, but can you invite characterizations by the way your dress, behavior and grooming standards? Absolutely.

What does this have to do with UT?

No one in the press bothered to report this at the time, but in contrast to Vivian Stringer, Pat Summitt expects her players to look like ladies with (no visible tatoos). Win or lose, nobody is ever going to mistake Pat Summitt's Tennessee Lady Vols for a being thugs.

How does this apply?

Little things vs. Big things
You can deal with little things like no visible tatoos, or you can deal with big things like felony arrests. Pat Summitt chooses to do the former, most coaches default to the latter.

coalvol writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't think this is limited to UT or college sports in general. Look at the two morons in the NBA who pulled guns in the locker room. Welcome to sports in the modern era.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to TommyJack:

How can you argue with this article?

I'll try!

Sensationalism sells ... and gets everybody all excited.

The message in the article is true, UT needs to get on top of this junk. But the wording is a bit over the top. The sky is not falling.

Colliervol writes:

No matter which sport you want to discuss, many of these athletes have such a sense of entitlement that they think nobody can touch them. The only way to get close to stopping it is to institute a policy of "one offense and hit the door". All of them feel that if they do get caught, it will be swept under the rug and they'll get multiple chances anyway. Again, one offense and don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out. The problem is that there are some coaches (and you know who they are) that will allow anything and not punish these goofs. And that's who the talented ones will go play for. The ones with lax ethics.

I was pretty much disgusted with college basketball in general what with the one-and-done non-student athletes, the sleazy agents and even sleazier coaches running around. Now I get the feeling that I'm rooting for our "Crips" versus their "Bloods". And I don't like the feeling.

6MillionDollarPumpkin writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Rich you are correct. I think Hamilton needs to take a very close look at the kids that Bruce is bringing in. Yes, we are winning but at what expense? Embarassment to the university, is it worth it? Chris Lofton and Dane Bradshaw were 2 great UT players and have turned out to be great alum's, both came in via Buzz Peterson. I think it is time for Hamilton, Pearl, and the administration to sit down and have a long discussion about the quality of the individual's Pearl is signing.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Marcus, I'm shocked! You've been around here long enough to know how far logic and being rational will get you on this board!

BTW, good post, I agree.

TommyJack writes:

This chit goes on everywhere. An excuse? No. It's just our turn in the barrel. A huge cultural issue that I don't see changing soon. Sad.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to A_VOICE_RETURNS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wrongo gata breath, sleaze is an advanced degree major in Gainesville.

"What's the problem with popping off a few AK-47 rounds in the parking lot? He didn't hit nobody."

Or how about "Fingers in the eyes is just part of big time college football."

Or maybe "Dunlap was tired and at least he had the good sense to stop and catch a few zzzzs instead of keeping going and maybe cause an accident."

RJ_Vol writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was taking bets on how long you could go w/out responding. lol. You've been beating around the bush all morning. However, I have been beating this drum long before we actually wore the jerseys. The jerseys are symptomatic not causal. However, I really don't think I have much to add at this point. I pretty much spelled it out earlier. Unfortunately(stress that), the players' actions are supporting my argument. I wish they weren't.

RJ_Vol writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I strongly agree w/ the last sentence of that remark.

bobbarbilly writes:

' Buy them books and send them to to school and what do they do...tear the covers off the books and eat the erasers off the pencils".

Kasey writes:

I don't think Hamilton has the ability to get things under control. You expect some problems at any University in today's culture, but UT is really had more than their share. But yet, the women's teams are not involved in the bad behaviors as far as know. A little fear of your coach can be a good thing. I don't have much regard for Pearl or Kiffin personally, but they have both done the right things with these issues. I respect them for that, and it was nice to see Pearl included an apology for the embarassment to UT.

BillyVol writes:

I have an idea, if everyone starts boycotting the games to see these thugs play we may send a louder message than asking for heads to roll. Once the money is not coming in, they will get the message.

volball7222 writes:

These players showed that they think they are king chit on terd island........aint going to happen.....

wally writes:

question: Are we not drug testing at UT anymore? If so, how do these guys keep from testing positive?

layoffthevolteam writes:

Whew!
That as alot folks...
Let's give credit for where it is due...

Vol fan for 50yrs
Born in Tennessee live in FLA and wantto be buried one day in Tenn,,,,,,
So,here is the praise:
Navy wins and wins with class
AirForce wins with class also.
Then why didn't they have some questionable
characters and so forth,etc....
I do love the VOLS but even more so these
BRAVE men and Women who may be killed because
they stayed The COURSE.
I can not watch the promo for drunk driving
as the naval grad is later listed as killed
by a drunk....
I, personally would see UT loose with class
than win with questions,,
My take on Coach Kiffins failure to shake,
"there must be alot of folks on this site
who never played or coached" Sometimes the emotion is just plain to much,
We catch a wide open pass and we are back in.
VT does not get this 3 ( looked like me
the clock should have been 8.5 seconds when play
started......

smokymtman writes:

in response to A_VOICE_RETURNS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Spurrier's a has been.

RJ_Vol writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, I have to agree w/ that too, especially the last sentence - again.

Raynoch writes:

Who cares if they wear headbands and a zillion different pairs of socks. Taking that stuff away won't stop these thugs from smoking weed, driving drunk and carrying guns.

VOL_N_IRAQ writes:

in response to wally:

question: Are we not drug testing at UT anymore? If so, how do these guys keep from testing positive?

They are allowed 4 strikes. So basically, they can smoke up pretty regular till that 3rd strike. I say 2 strikes and your out.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

The least everyone should be able to do is give the man a couple days - lets see what he does before you call for his beheading!! I think UT bb will now be better once these 4 are gone. Lets see what this week holds - should be interesting.

Ringside writes:

in response to TommyJack:

This chit goes on everywhere. An excuse? No. It's just our turn in the barrel. A huge cultural issue that I don't see changing soon. Sad.

Can't sweep under the rug. Got to deal with it.
Seems like UT is dealing with more than its share. Seems that some of this bunch feels no fear of consequences.

give_him_6 writes:

Mike Hamilton...you had better a handle on all this "thug phooey" pretty quickly cause this is the type of stuff teh NCAA will come in on and then it'll be outta your hands buddy. Win at all costs?? Leave that to the Miamis of the world.

Ringside writes:

blUnT

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Chris Dunkley fixing to commit on ESPN in a minute....

Pompey writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If any one thinks "it's everywhere", then look at Duke and North Carolina and get back to me........

Ringside writes:

in response to AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons:

Chris Dunkley fixing to commit on ESPN in a minute....

yep, Florida

Mule_Days_King writes:

Image? A Pahokie buddy of Richardson just committed to the Gators. Good luck with that turds.

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