John Adams: Experience needed for this crisis

John Adams

If Tennessee's Jimmy Cheek is as smart as a university chancellor should be, then he already has made a phone call to former UT athletic director Doug Dickey.

And if there was no answer, he should have hitched a ride on booster Jim Haslam's jet. Destination: Dickey's Florida driveway.

Although UT has received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, it still has months to respond. It won't appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions until June. There's work to be done and headway to be made.

So whom are you going to call?

Don Bosch? Sorry, wrong number. The local attorney is your guy if a football player rendered a bar patron unconscious, put a sleeper hold on his girlfriend or stumbled into a cop while staggering down Cumberland Avenue in a drunken stupor.

This is more challenging. And it might be too challenging for current athletic director Mike Hamilton.

If you need an increase in donations or an administrative building refurbished, Hamilton is your man. But you can't expect him to steer the Vol Navy through these troubled waters. This demands a more experienced hand with a superior track record in crisis management.

That's Dickey, who successfully handled one NCAA run-in after another during his tenure as athletic director.

UT should at least offer him a job as a consultant. Pay him the money UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl had to forfeit for his involvement in this NCAA mess. If Dickey wants a title, give it to him. If he wants his old job back, give him that, too. Tell him he only has to come to Knoxville when the NCAA is in town.

What have you got to lose? The guy is golden with the NCAA.

In 1987, Sport Magazine published a story quoting former players as saying they were rewarded with more than scholarships for their contributions to UT football. The players later claimed they were misquoted, the NCAA signed off on the school's in-house investigation, and the whole thing went away.

In the 1990s, there was a summer football "tryout camp" scandal, a phone-fraud scandal and an academic scandal. Yet the Vols were never deemed unfit for bowls or television. They didn't even have to forfeit a game.

UT fans shouldn't concern themselves with the hows or whys of those outcomes. They should just appreciate the bottom line.

You can't be so sure about the bottom line this time. There's nothing on Hamilton's resume to inspire the same sort of confidence. Instead, his administrative era will be remembered for the charges leveled against the football and basketball programs under the direction of coaches he hired. If both suffer serious sanctions from the NCAA, he should be fired.

But that's getting ahead of the process. There's still time for another preemptive strike.

Based on how the allegations letter reads, UT already has helped itself in football. Former football coach Lane Kiffin, who left UT for the head-coaching job at Southern California, bears the brunt of the charges, which the NCAA was considerate enough to forward to his new employer.

The Vols now benefit from his leaving, though I doubt fans will be motivated to compose thank-you-Lane notes. At least, they might be less inclined to send him death threats.

Basketball is a different matter. Of all the allegations, none resonates more with the NCAA than Pearl lying to its investigators.

UT announced in September that it was reducing the coach's pay by $1.5 million over five years and prohibited him from participating in off-campus recruiting for a year.

That's significant if you're planning your annual family budget. However, in the NCAA's eyes, it probably didn't punish the program sufficiently, which might explain why SEC commissioner Mike Slive suspended Pearl for eight SEC games.

If the Vols really want to gain favor with the NCAA, they would be wise to self-impose further sanctions. They could take away a basketball scholarship for each of the next two or three years and - if they're intent on keeping Pearl as their coach - suspend him for December.

My only other advice: Talk to Doug Dickey.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http//twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 32

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

who cares about what your advice would be,you'll talk anything negative you can about UT but NEVER a possitive,your pitful adams

BigVolinCarolina writes:

You know, a li'l integrity will alleviate the need to call Doug Dickey--or anyone else--whenever the NCAA comes a knockin'.

Just sayin'.

SummittsCourt writes:

Start with firing hammy the sneaky snake!

agohn writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

who cares about what your advice would be,you'll talk anything negative you can about UT but NEVER a possitive,your pitful adams

Let's just thank the almighty that you are not the writer. Concentrate on your and you're before you post next time...grammar king. I'm sure KNS staff and others just like myself enjoy John Adams commentary. Maybe you just don't understand what's going on.

BillsBrother writes:

Hammy has gotten us in over his head. His focus is raising money and he can't raise enough to make this one go away.

flatrock writes:

Keep stalling until the Scam Newton mess explodes...

vut56#231073 writes:

It is so easy to shoot the messenger as this messenger shoots himself in the foot or mouth with most of his non-insight. This is an example of pure foolishness...if for no other reasons than Dickey's own laspe of judgement in many instances.

That said, there is this fact that cannot be wished or blogged away: The signature hires of Hamilton's tenure have brought us to this. We may all want to throw up at the rulings of Chief Justice NCAA; however, when they cite "lack of institutional control" we should just plead guilty and throw ourselves at the mercy of the courts. We have not quibbled, only whimpered, as the evidence of our "lack of control" has piled up. All concerned richly deserve what they get. And, that include the ones who brought them here.

Just a major embarrassment to our university on all accounts.

tovolny writes:

LET us have it John, beat us up, kick us while we're down. WHY THE DICKEY REMARKS? You are one big sore on my bottom side. It is obvious what you're doing with this item. But why? Why John?
I hear Halifax, Nova Scotia is looking for a snotty, two faced, A?? to cover the casino beat. Why not apply...???...TODAY!

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to tovolny:

LET us have it John, beat us up, kick us while we're down. WHY THE DICKEY REMARKS? You are one big sore on my bottom side. It is obvious what you're doing with this item. But why? Why John?
I hear Halifax, Nova Scotia is looking for a snotty, two faced, A?? to cover the casino beat. Why not apply...???...TODAY!

Dude, chill out, would you? It's okay if you guys don't agree or see things the same way.

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to PrideOfTheSouthlandBanned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No one actually cares what you think. I mean, "think." Your thoughts aren't very important not because they are idiotic, but because they are so rote. Try to think of something interesting or important.

chbradshaw writes:

I agree John...we need a voice from the past who was much better than the current person. Please leave and bring back Ben Byrd. As for Dickey, he's a Florida guy...we don't need another of his messes and we don't need any of his supplement drinks either.

knoxchatter writes:

Pearl cried back in September, not because he was sorry or ashamed, but because HE GOT CAUGHT! Haven't we seen those crocodile tears before...a la Tiger Woods, Brett Favre...and those are just in the sportsworld. The rockslide always starts at the top.....MIKE HAMILTON.....even as far back as the dwindling years of Philip Fulmer! Keep telling it like it 'tis' John, the only naysayers on here will be those who have an allergic reaction to what is the obvious truth....and misuse 'your' in place of 'you're!' Good article!!

Still a huge Volfan....but also a realistic one!

volsfannsc writes:

This will be my first and last comment on this whole situation which suitably is as confusing as the investigation itself. Big picture, was a cookout and excessive phone calls such a horrible thing? The answer is no. CBP lying about it is what 99.99 percent of what all coaches would have done under the circumstances. Coming forthright about it is something few coaches would do. Asking recruits to help in the lie? That one stings a bit. This signals a character flaw that I wish I had never seen in CBP. Has CBP been punished enough by UT and the SEC? Almost. Should the NCAA pile on? Not if they want coaches to come clean in the future or believe that coaches aren't human and dont deserve a second chance. If the NCAA is worried about the program becoming and staying clean, seems they would want CBP staying where's he's at because I have a feeling this is something that will stick with Bruce for a while and straying is not an option. Loosing some scholly's and a few more game suspensions would seem adequate.

As for the football program, I'm glad they are off-campus tracking Kiffin. The one thing that bothers me is that every human being alive with sight and hearing had to notice that Kiffin's attitude was one of pushing the envelope or downright disregard for anything that stood in his way. Seems someone a little higher in the food chain would have put their foot down. Was Kiffin bad news and deserves whats coming to him? Yep. Does the football program look a little shakey for not reigning him in? Yep. Do I feel that program is in control present day? Absolutely. We have found an old-school disciplinarian in Dooley. This in itself helps us tremendously. Additional punishment from the NCAA with football? Nope....just go away. Just my opinions.

dvols writes:

call The University of Alabama, and The University of Kentucky......they should have the best advice.......

volnsc writes:

Look for the NCAA to hire ESPN as consultants in the punishment phase. That may not be necessary since it appears the NCAA is already owned by ESPN with Dickey V, who has never missed an opportunity to slide a knife into UT's back, as EVP of basketball operations.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Adams say "Crisis?" Witch Doctor say writer has many opinions and little facts.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor think better definition of "LOSER" is someone who patrols another teams site 24/7 JUST to get their feelings hurt everytime someone mentions your schools name. Bama dont need little men with keyboards defending it...geez
Bones never lie.

dawood32025#214896 writes:

in response to volnsc:

Look for the NCAA to hire ESPN as consultants in the punishment phase. That may not be necessary since it appears the NCAA is already owned by ESPN with Dickey V, who has never missed an opportunity to slide a knife into UT's back, as EVP of basketball operations.

Don't forget Digger P pounding them also when he and Dickey V announced one game this season. They both commented the Pearl should be fired. Their job is to announce the game, not voice their opinion about a situation between a school, the SEC and the NCAA.

tovolny writes:

in response to lguy:

Dude, chill out, would you? It's okay if you guys don't agree or see things the same way.

Chill???...What does it mean to you to chill...?...agree with some of your off the wall posts that are off the subject? The yellow object in the sky during the day is the SUN...the yellow object at night is the MOON. What should be the next logical remark? Most posters will know, you will probably not know. What can I say?

iLOVEtheVOLS writes:

I believe there are several moves that could be made by UT brass and they need to be made pronto. One, move Derek Dooley from football coach to AD. He was AD/head football coach at Louisiana Tech before he came to UT, plus he has a law degree, and he's squeaky clean. Next, hire Jeff Fisher to replace Dooley as football coach. Next, as much as it pains me to say this, let Pearl go. In his place, bring in the bb coach from Belmont. It's to time to clean house folks.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Textbooks-R-Us, Albert Means, Logan Young, Antonio Langham....

Shall I go on?

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to iLOVEtheVOLS:

I believe there are several moves that could be made by UT brass and they need to be made pronto. One, move Derek Dooley from football coach to AD. He was AD/head football coach at Louisiana Tech before he came to UT, plus he has a law degree, and he's squeaky clean. Next, hire Jeff Fisher to replace Dooley as football coach. Next, as much as it pains me to say this, let Pearl go. In his place, bring in the bb coach from Belmont. It's to time to clean house folks.

Jeff Fisher? Hell no. The state of TN has had its fill of The Mustache.

Dooley to AD? Are you on crack?

Rick Byrd? Now there's a move I like if Pearl is gone.

8ball writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe your wrong, records are as follows 40-2 Vols, 26 in a row, 16 sec title ala 0, NC 8 ala 0 ?

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

in response to volsfannsc:

This will be my first and last comment on this whole situation which suitably is as confusing as the investigation itself. Big picture, was a cookout and excessive phone calls such a horrible thing? The answer is no. CBP lying about it is what 99.99 percent of what all coaches would have done under the circumstances. Coming forthright about it is something few coaches would do. Asking recruits to help in the lie? That one stings a bit. This signals a character flaw that I wish I had never seen in CBP. Has CBP been punished enough by UT and the SEC? Almost. Should the NCAA pile on? Not if they want coaches to come clean in the future or believe that coaches aren't human and dont deserve a second chance. If the NCAA is worried about the program becoming and staying clean, seems they would want CBP staying where's he's at because I have a feeling this is something that will stick with Bruce for a while and straying is not an option. Loosing some scholly's and a few more game suspensions would seem adequate.

As for the football program, I'm glad they are off-campus tracking Kiffin. The one thing that bothers me is that every human being alive with sight and hearing had to notice that Kiffin's attitude was one of pushing the envelope or downright disregard for anything that stood in his way. Seems someone a little higher in the food chain would have put their foot down. Was Kiffin bad news and deserves whats coming to him? Yep. Does the football program look a little shakey for not reigning him in? Yep. Do I feel that program is in control present day? Absolutely. We have found an old-school disciplinarian in Dooley. This in itself helps us tremendously. Additional punishment from the NCAA with football? Nope....just go away. Just my opinions.

Excellent post!

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

in response to volnsc:

Look for the NCAA to hire ESPN as consultants in the punishment phase. That may not be necessary since it appears the NCAA is already owned by ESPN with Dickey V, who has never missed an opportunity to slide a knife into UT's back, as EVP of basketball operations.

Actually, I've noticed that the ESPN analysts have backed off and been a little more sympathetic to CBP lately. At first, they were brutal, but now they seem to be a little more compassionate, but they do still mention it every chance they get. That game at Vandy the other night sure felt good!

CarbonCopy (Inactive) writes:

Ben Byrd was great. Great insight and intelligent writing. Sadly our article writing talent has fallen off tremendously. I think it's time for a change.
Who is out there that can really write quality articles?
On the BP front, sadly I think he will get the axe after the NCAA hands out the "cause" penalty.
Great floor coach and motivator of people,but he has some real problems on the character and decision making front.
Hope it's not so, but I wouldn't bet against it with odds.

CrankE writes:

Just think what could have happened if Adams had been beating on Hamilton the way he did Fulmer.

GO MIKE HAMILTON! AND TAKE JOHN ADAMS WITH YOU!

CrankE writes:

Or as Sonny Corleone says to Tom Hagan in The Godfather, "If I had a wartime consigliere I wouldn't be in this shape. Pop had Genco, look what I got."

murrayvol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let's hear it for the man in tights.

Nobody rings the Dorkometer bell quite like shen.

murrayvol writes:

Good advice John. Go with what works.

C. M. Newton might be an even better choice. Rescued UK from the gallows in 89'. And, unlike Dickey, he has a basketball resume.

TNPilgrim writes:

Adams is exactly right - while Tricky Dickey was A.D. the UT football program got caught red-handed with probable major violations and he got them off the hook EVERY TIME. Only the insiders know the secret to his magic - but whatever it was, it worked. Maybe people woke up with a horse's head in their bed and an offer they couldn't refuse.

bigorangebolt writes:

Mike Hamilton is the AD and ultimatey responsible. He must be held accountable and must be fired immediately! UT needs an expereinced AD. This has to be done to get us going in the right direction. Mike Hamilton is a failure! Go Vols!

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