Hart says Florida State woes, resignation unrelated events

The bulk of Dave Hart's athletic director career was spent at Florida State, where, from 1995 to 2007, he helped double the department's budget and revenue and saw 10 athletic programs win 35 Atlantic Coast Conference championships.

The end of his tenure with the Seminoles, though, came in the midst of a self-reported academic scandal with the NCAA that resulted in the vacation of wins for the football team, four years of probation and various penalties in 10 sports.

Hart, Tennessee's new vice chancellor and director of athletics, has said in subsequent interviews, in a letter to the Committee on Infractions and again in his introductory news conference Monday that his resignation from Florida State and the major infractions case were two unrelated events.

Dave Hart introduced as UT's Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics - Pt. 1

"When I left Florida State, we had already made that decision before we knew there was an issue with the online music course and those type of things," Hart said. "I worked hand-in-hand with the program, with legal counsel with our faculty, looking into what did happen."

In his letter to the Committee on Infractions, which was obtained by the St. Petersburg Times in 2009, Hart wrote that he "simply agreed to disagree on some core issues" with Florida State president T.K. Wetherell. Shortly before Hart resigned, Wetherell told him that his contract would not be renewed after its January 2009 completion.

In his own letter to the Committee on Infractions, which also was obtained by The Times, Wetherell said he did not renew the contract because of "a series of management issues."

"Mr. Hart indicated in his letter that he and I 'agreed to disagree on some core issues,' " Wetherell wrote. "One of those 'core issues' was his supervision of the athletics department."

UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek said he talked with a former colleague of his from Florida State, who explained to him that the school's academic scandal was "an academic matter affecting students at FSU and obviously athletes at FSU, but it was not an athletic matter that influenced academics."

"In the athletic world, there's not going to be an athletic administrator that feels like Dave Hart was involved in a negative way in that situation at Florida State," UT women's athletic director Joan Cronan said. "We all have the ultimate respect for his integrity."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 19

hcjournals#206623 writes:


underthehill writes:

All UT fans did not just get off a load of pumkins as some appear to think...what happened to where there is smoke there is fire...

Debt writes:

This whole thing is a joke, Harts a joke, Cheeks a joke. How long are we going to take this?

If enough people would band together and "protest" by NOT spending money on UT sports, maybe they'll wisen up....

Debt writes:

And, his first act is to lie to the people? Just like Walt said

He was in charge. He was responsible

MilitaryBrat writes:

Hart is just a band-aid until our sports programs get going again. Then we will be able to hire whoever we want.

Like Lane Kiffen at USC, (unless he has great success), he will be a coach there while they have sanctions, but after it is all over, they will hire a top coach.

FearlessFreep writes:

God help our fan base, for they truly don't deserve a decent athletic program with the stupidity they consistently show.

KevDVol writes:

I'll take Joan Cronan's word over what I'm reading here. She would probably be a much more credible and informed source. And, unless the FSU athletic department/Hart actually set up or initiated the online Music course, I'm willing to give him a pass on that. Anyway, it looks like we're stuck with him, so get over it and get behind him.


marnel1958 writes:

I'll say this, none of us on this forum will have any say on who coaches, administrates, nor oversees academics at UT. I will also support all of the above since I bleed orange. However, it seems to me if Hammy was responsible for everything that happened on his watch, shouldn't Hart be judged the same? I'm no Hammy fan, but we can't have it both ways - right???

Tennesseebob writes:

I've lived in Florida since 1979. Dave Hart was forced out at FSU because he wanted Bobby Bowden to retire. FSU's President at the time, T.K. Weatherell, played under Bowden and was solidly in his corner. The boosters finally forced Bowden out by threatening to withhold donations. It's no coincidence that Weatherell resigned at the same time as Bowden. All of this was reported in Florida newspapers.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Thank you Tennesseebob for that good post..As I said last night, I think Hart was a good hire from everything I have read on www.rolltide.com..And honestly,Walt, you need to get over it because your endless and ridiculous rants are NOT gonna change anything..It's getting old to try to read an article and then the comments and it be dominated by your rants..GET OVER IT!!! SHEESH!!

Smokey says give it a rest and give the guy a chance(but he knows you're not going to)..


Why don't all yall VOL HATERS take your sorry whinning no good want to be VOL FANS to somewhere else and become a want to be fan there! Im sick and tired of of all this bashing cr@p that goes on from so called FANS!!! If you gonna stay and be a fan ACT LIKE ONE now get behind this great program and support the leaders we have and help be a part of this great program as we move forward to being back on top where we are suppose to be!! VFL GBO!!!!

UTKin1992 writes:

Since we haven't had any distractions lately, why not bring on someone with a little "past" to spice things up, huh? Am I right!? Yeah!

Brilliant move Cheek...brilliant!

dwthevolsfan writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Since we haven't had any distractions lately, why not bring on someone with a little "past" to spice things up, huh? Am I right!? Yeah!

Brilliant move Cheek...brilliant!

Exactly. This guy may be a good AD but unless they think he's gonna be a great one I don't see why you hire anyone with any past problems with the ncaa right now. We got off lucky with the ncaa but then turn around and hire someone with a shady past. Not to mention he's an Alabama guy. Strange hire indeed.

VOLliven2it writes:

He is the AD and all true fans back him. Some will have questions about his past. I for one, am not at all surprised he would claim his leaving had nothing to do with the scandal. But in our day, all the media hype, info. and misinfo. that gets out so quickly, it is hard not to wonder about something like that. Indeed, as with the Twinky Soft Cakes former head coach, we have no choice. So for now let's at least consider the benefit of a doubt until we see otherwise. We do have an AD and it is not yet Christmas. I am thankful for that. Let us not be Hartless on here friends.

thatsthetruthtruth writes:

It's comforting to me that Walt graduated from UT in 1981... It goes to show that anyone can get a college degree!

Get over the fact that he may or may not have been involved with the FSU thing... If it wasn't that then it would be that he is from Alabama. Joan Cronan thinks he has done a good job and has integrity, i'll take her word for it

thats the truth,truth

Digger writes:

Bring back Mike Hamilton!

born2ride writes:

I wonder if Hart will decorate his office in Crimson Red?

shipperman#280095 writes:

Anybody not named Fulmer is not good enough for Walt. What a freaking "Homer"

Oenoboy writes:

in response to Debt:

This whole thing is a joke, Harts a joke, Cheeks a joke. How long are we going to take this?

If enough people would band together and "protest" by NOT spending money on UT sports, maybe they'll wisen up....

WE? You are an admitted Florida fan so where does this "we" BS come from?

You are a pot stirring troll.

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