John Adams: UT has been penalized enough

John Adams

August is coming, And Tennessee's NCAA sentence is likely coming with it.

Excuse UT fans for not grinding their teeth. The program already has suffered so much, there's little anguish left for the formal sentence.

UT has fired head basketball coach Bruce Pearl and three assistant coaches. Athletic director Mike Hamilton has resigned. Former head football coach Lane Kiffin is long-gone to Southern California.

UT has even put itself on two-years probation, though the self-imposed penalties might seem trivial to everyone except the coaches, who view the loss of one recruiting call as catastrophic.

What else can the

NCAA do that wouldn't qualify as overkill? It could take away a scholarship or two in basketball. If it really wanted to send a harsh message, it also could ban the Vols from postseason play in 2011-12. But that loses its clout once you realize the team looks incapable of playing its way into the NCAA tournament.

In fact, given all the damage that has been done, UT fans probably look toward the impending sentence with a sense of relief, rather than dread. Not only have they lost an outstanding basketball coach and good group of assistants, they have been subjected to almost a year's worth of bad publicity. None of the long-awaited penalties could be nearly that significant.

Most of those fans probably feel as though they have lost something other than coaches. They likely have lost confidence in UT's leadership.

Pearl and his assistants weren't the only ones guilty of atrocious decision-making, and they have paid dearly for lying to the NCAA. UT's extended run-in with the NCAA has been distinguished by one bad decision after another.

According to UT's official response to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations, Mike Glazier — the outside counsel hired by the school — knew six days before the UT basketball coaches interviewed with investigators that the NCAA had an incriminating photo of Pearl and recruit Aaron Craft. Yet the coaches weren't informed of that until the day they interviewed with the NCAA.

What was Glazier getting paid for? Surprises?

Tennessee needed a plan, not a surprise. And it needed leadership.

The more you read about the details of the investigation, the more perplexing it is that Hamilton and chancellor Jimmy Cheek ever imagined they could keep Pearl as their coach. At the very least, they could have suspended him for the entire season. Their well publicized initial support just made them look more foolish when they fired Pearl at the end of the season.

It's also puzzling that UT never announced its self-imposed probation. That would at least have made it appear more conscientious. Yet the information wasn't made public until the News Sentinel requested and reported on records pertaining to the school's official response to the NCAA allegations.

The football program's mistakes were less serious. That hardly qualifies it as savvy.

Sending UT hostesses out of town to recruit players? It might as well have sent the marching band, too.

Not only did the Vols cheat. They cheated very poorly.

But they have been punished enough for it.

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 » 36

UCFgradVOLatHEART writes:

1st

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

I've been out of town for a couple of weeks (with no UT news); what is this self imposed probation?

thevoice writes:

I like Adams. He tells it like it is. Even his negativism is usually right on. It's just hard to stomach as a Vol fan (of course, not much to cheer about lately). Thanks John, you're making me a better person.

dvhill100 writes:

If true the atty for UT with held the information, that is beyond incompetent. The UT administration has certainly not covered themselves with glory in all of this nonsense. Leadership starts at the top, and those in charge should pay for it. All of them.

volroadwarrior writes:

in response to thevoice:

I like Adams. He tells it like it is. Even his negativism is usually right on. It's just hard to stomach as a Vol fan (of course, not much to cheer about lately). Thanks John, you're making me a better person.

Is that you John?

BigOrangeJeff writes:

At the very least, I'm glad that my school is so inexperienced at cheating that they suck at it.

Unlike our friends that wear Crimson, Scarlet, Cardinal, etc., to whom cheating comes as naturally and effortlessly as breathing.

volroadwarrior writes:

Adams is right about the incompetence at the top with Jimmy Cheeks and Glazier. The same incompetence is shown on the AD search committee that can't shoot straight. With Cheeks and Susan Martin, we have at least 2 on that panel who do not have winning athletic championships at UT a high priority. Cheeks is still a Gator at heart and Martin is more concerned about women studies and how Alpha Males athletes negatively affect society.

John_10065 writes:

in response to thevoice:

I like Adams. He tells it like it is. Even his negativism is usually right on. It's just hard to stomach as a Vol fan (of course, not much to cheer about lately). Thanks John, you're making me a better person.

He is speaking as if many of us fans didn't remember him berating Pearl and now is talking about how we lost an "outstanding coach".

Sorry Adams, if you're going to bad mouth someone at least keep it consistant months later.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Glazer needs to be fired if this is true. Even though Coach Pearl was wrong, he was not only run over by the bus, it was put in reverse and he was run over again. Wow. Just unbelievable. And if Mr Cheek knew about this and didn't inform Coach Pearl, this is fireable. This is just embarrassing...

miatatom writes:

"According to UT's official response to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations, Mike Glazier — the outside counsel hired by the school — knew six days before the UT basketball coaches interviewed with investigators that the NCAA had an incriminating photo of Pearl and recruit Aaron Craft. Yet the coaches weren't informed of that until the day they interviewed with the NCAA."

Am I the only one that feels like they wanted BP to hang himself with this situation? Not telling him the NCAA already had him by the nads sounds like they wanted him to fail. I'm glad Hammy is gone. Cheek and the rest should be next and don't hire Glazier to sweep the floors either.

hamneggs writes:

in response to volroadwarrior:

Adams is right about the incompetence at the top with Jimmy Cheeks and Glazier. The same incompetence is shown on the AD search committee that can't shoot straight. With Cheeks and Susan Martin, we have at least 2 on that panel who do not have winning athletic championships at UT a high priority. Cheeks is still a Gator at heart and Martin is more concerned about women studies and how Alpha Males athletes negatively affect society.

I think Cheek is like The Manchurian Candidate getting his orders from the evil Jeremy Foley to destroy Tennessee's Athletic Program. I forgot we did to ourselves.

cloudodust writes:

...and I'll never forget the audio/video image of Orgeron dialing up Tennessee recruits as LK was saying his goodbyes. As far as the rest goes, the NCAA has proven over the years it's too big for it's britches...Ask AJ Green for example...

UTByrd writes:

Carl Perkins once told me that young bands get in the music business and think all is peaches and cream, when, in actuality, it was a cutthroat business.
He said he hired a lawyer to keep an eye on his other lawyer. The same with his accountant.]
I would venture to say that major college athletics are just as cutthroat, possible more so.
By the way, Don't step on my orange suede shoes!
Go VOLS!!!!!

givehim6 writes:

Funny JA is doing with Pearl the same as he did with Fulmer years ago, he starts of talking about said coach like a dog gets the fire faned real hot. Then drops the should be fired phrase in conversation a time or two this gets the croud really going untill said coach gets fired. Then after a period of time goes by, { phil a few year, BP well it's been what 4-5 months?} starts the well he wasn't so bad stuff. Come on John your really just trying to mess the Vols heads up right?

volfan73120#211815 writes:

I would like for Glazier to make a public statement as to why he held the photo information for six days. Is this malpractice on his part?

Huttdawg100 writes:

I don't see the NCAA allowing us to punish ourselves. That's like me telling my mom that I'll ground myself for 2 days with no TV or XBOX.

However, the ultimate punishment is the fact that we will no longer see Pearl with his orange blazer. He was the perfect coach for UT, but he made a drastic mistake, equipped with poor guidance and leadership from Hamilton and Glazier. I remember working as a cook at Copper Cellar the day we knocked off a highly rated Florida team in 2006. Pearl brought the guys to CC that evening to celebrate, and that building shook with his presence. He had moxy. He had the "it factor".

As far as I'm concerned, the NCAA can throw the book at us. We've already received capital punishment; anything else is laughable compared to the loss we've suffered.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to volfan73120#211815:

I would like for Glazier to make a public statement as to why he held the photo information for six days. Is this malpractice on his part?

The sad thing is, Glazier will continue to make money. Since he let us down, he's been hired by MS State, Oregon, and UCF. The guy is an expensive sleazy attorney that's out to make the next dollar.

TNVol71 writes:

It is still amazing to me that the NCAA took a matter of days to rule on the OSU incident and Cam Newton but has taken over a year to provide a resolution to UT. Like JA said, it will be nice just to have the decisions made so we can move on. GBO!!

Classof72 writes:

"Sending UT hostesses out of town to recruit players? It might as well have sent the marching band, too."

No can do, JA. They didn't even send the marching band to the game in Memphis, a new low for UTAD. They probably think marching bands interfere with the revenue stream emanating from the Jumbotrons, so the heck with 'em.

"What was Glazier getting paid for? Surprises?"

Good question. Since Dan Radakovich, (the Ga Tech AD that UTAD's search firm of Winkin, Blinkin and Noddin approved for the Vols to hire) got busted for tellin' the GT football coach stuff when the NCAA had told him not to, even a non-journalist like myself would assume the NCAA had told UTAD not to tip the coaches about the picture. If all else fails, ask somebody about it. Or, better yet, call a journalist.

Classof72 writes:

Afterthought: Can Phillip Fulmer be retained by UTAD to raise money for Jimmy Cheek's buyout? Maybe the diabolical Cheek is trying to incentivize the boosters to increase that buyout. Unless enough money is raised, Cheek might stay until UTAD is just a smoking ruin, like Mt. St. Helens.

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

in response to dvhill100:

If true the atty for UT with held the information, that is beyond incompetent. The UT administration has certainly not covered themselves with glory in all of this nonsense. Leadership starts at the top, and those in charge should pay for it. All of them.

You're assuming that the attorney wasn't told by the UT administration to withhold the photo until before the meeting.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to miatatom:

"According to UT's official response to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations, Mike Glazier — the outside counsel hired by the school — knew six days before the UT basketball coaches interviewed with investigators that the NCAA had an incriminating photo of Pearl and recruit Aaron Craft. Yet the coaches weren't informed of that until the day they interviewed with the NCAA."

Am I the only one that feels like they wanted BP to hang himself with this situation? Not telling him the NCAA already had him by the nads sounds like they wanted him to fail. I'm glad Hammy is gone. Cheek and the rest should be next and don't hire Glazier to sweep the floors either.

I'd like to believe that - for the first time in our lives, we messed up again. That we really are trying to get it right.

BTW, why did we hire Glazer? What is it that he was supposed to bring to the table? He's either out to lunch or he is following his client's wishes.

dvols writes:

it don't really matter.....

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Adams came by Witch Doctors hut the other night needing a potion to help get rid of some "worts". Witch Doctor snip some of his hair and now Adams on our team until my "fan" spell wear off at kick-off.
Bones never lie.

CCLC writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Adams came by Witch Doctors hut the other night needing a potion to help get rid of some "worts". Witch Doctor snip some of his hair and now Adams on our team until my "fan" spell wear off at kick-off.
Bones never lie.

It's not over until they say it's over.

"If there’s one man in America who’s catching more heat than Bruce Pearl or Lane Kiffin today it’s the guy who hired both of them at Tennessee.
SI.com’s Stewart Mandel: “But what of Hamilton? Under his watch, one of the nation’s proudest athletic programs has deteriorated into one of its most shameful. Will Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek go along with the illusion that the football mess can be blamed entirely on that mercenary scoundrel Kiffin, and that reducing Pearl’s salary last fall was an adequate show of force? Or, will he do the right thing: recognize that Hamilton was ultimately Pearl’s and Kiffin’s greatest enabler; that Hamilton’s department is a textbook example of the risks of allowing splashy head coaches the freedom to act as their own freewheeling autocrats; and that ultimately Hamilton and his whole department should be replaced and rebuilt?”

It was a start. Given the heat that is in the NCAA right now I don't think they let anyone in the SEC off until they drain the last drop of blood from the program. Dawgs likely lose a starting lb for 4to 6 games for a infraction that happened 4 years ago ... at a different school (USC) I don't want to even get started on AJ. He should have been allowed to sit out the first 4 games of 2011 like the Ohio State players. It ain't fair. It never is!

Southland writes:

we have indeed been through are going through one long sad time and we have no one to blame but ourselves. The problems came from within the system. Let us not be like bama fans and try to blame it on others.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Whatever happens....happens. It is what it is! I just wish they would hurry up an make an announcement and stop ruining my life. Button up your helmet straps and lets get it on! Our players are working hard and need our support.... The coaches too! Let's all of us REAL VOL FANS step up and support this year's great group of young men!

Go Vols! Think ORANGE!

arkyvol writes:

cheek is an academic, a mediocre one at that, and gets an excuse for not having the sense to come in out of the rain. as for hammy, what can one say? his reign of error will be remembered with all the affection atlanta holds for sherman or moscow for napoleon. he gets no pass. he passed himself off as a professional a.d. in my mind, the ones who need to be called to account for this fool are the ones who hired him, and after his mind boggling incompetence became undeniable, kept him.

CrankE writes:

Good column. Precisely what I'd expect to see in the local paper.

I'm not falling for it though. Adams is either playing the readers and his bosses or someone is ghostwriting.

REGIME CHANGE AT KNS! FIRE JOHN ADAMS!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to CCLC:

It's not over until they say it's over.

"If there’s one man in America who’s catching more heat than Bruce Pearl or Lane Kiffin today it’s the guy who hired both of them at Tennessee.
SI.com’s Stewart Mandel: “But what of Hamilton? Under his watch, one of the nation’s proudest athletic programs has deteriorated into one of its most shameful. Will Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek go along with the illusion that the football mess can be blamed entirely on that mercenary scoundrel Kiffin, and that reducing Pearl’s salary last fall was an adequate show of force? Or, will he do the right thing: recognize that Hamilton was ultimately Pearl’s and Kiffin’s greatest enabler; that Hamilton’s department is a textbook example of the risks of allowing splashy head coaches the freedom to act as their own freewheeling autocrats; and that ultimately Hamilton and his whole department should be replaced and rebuilt?”

It was a start. Given the heat that is in the NCAA right now I don't think they let anyone in the SEC off until they drain the last drop of blood from the program. Dawgs likely lose a starting lb for 4to 6 games for a infraction that happened 4 years ago ... at a different school (USC) I don't want to even get started on AJ. He should have been allowed to sit out the first 4 games of 2011 like the Ohio State players. It ain't fair. It never is!

Witch Doctor say hi CCLC. Witch Doctor agree because of outcome of events. Witch Doctor say Kiffen would be here today if not for the USC job and probably winning...we all know what happened. Witch Doctor say Pearl lied about something that makes everyone scratch their head about. Witch Doctor not believe that the NCAA hates Tennessee or Georgia, Florida..etc..BUT they DO hate the success the SEC is having right now. Hope you aint too hot in hot'lanta !! its misery in Murfreesboro...
Bones never lie.

Pompey writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

.....what Mike Hamilton has done to this athletic department boarders on the criminal, and I am still looking for what Cheek has done to qualify him for the position he holds......

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I agree with others that say it seems very fishy that the verdict will be delivered around the same time that Fall practice begins...I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but it is a little strange...Conspiracy??WE MAY NEVER KNOW because there is no way that I know of to prove it...But one thing is for sure that it is a VERY STRANGE coincidence.

I am personally just ready for this whole thing to be overwith, so we as the Vol faithful can get on with our lives, like football season coming up!!

Smokey is on the prowl and looking for the NCAA to tell them to hurry the h@ll up....

Ringleader writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

Glazer needs to be fired if this is true. Even though Coach Pearl was wrong, he was not only run over by the bus, it was put in reverse and he was run over again. Wow. Just unbelievable. And if Mr Cheek knew about this and didn't inform Coach Pearl, this is fireable. This is just embarrassing...

Nope.......This is exactly what got Georgia Tech its present probation. They were told
by the investigator not to tell the coaches
what was being investigated, but the AD told
the head football coach, who told the players
being investigated.

But, which would you rather have as your AD, the one who informed the coach, or the one which sided with the NCAA and told nobody.

I would side with the Georgia Tech AD

lknvol writes:

Tennessee still has severe leadership problems. I don't see how anyone could allow the weasel who practically dismantled a top class athletic department to leave on his own terms and with a tidy package. I have to question the judgement of that. Hamilton is the worst thing to ever happen to UT and Jimmy Cheek is a close second. Neither has any leadership ability. We will continue to suffer until the house cleaning is complete. As far as Glazer is concerned, what do you expect from an attorney with a high sleaze factor. The same we get from a search firm that recommended an AD who was leveled by the NCAA just days before we were set to hire him.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Leave Tennessee alone and fire the NCAA.

climberNeeds2workATwendys writes:

I can name a few sports "writers" who need a new profession.

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