Photo by Wade Payne, AP2011
The crossfire between Debby Jennings and the University of Tennessee continued on Friday.
A letter from David Burkhalter, the lawyer for the former Lady Vols associate athletics director for media relations, to UT assistant general counsel Michael D. Fitzgerald expressed a failure to "discern that U.T. has a sincere interest in trying to resolve this unfortunate matter amicably and we will proceed forward."
The letter was a response to UT releasing 250 pages worth of documents on Thursday from Jennings' personnel file to the News Sentinel along with a letter from Fitzgerald. A letter from Burkhalter to UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek — obtained Wednesday by the News Sentinel through an open records request — said Jennings had been advised to "pursue a discrimination/retaliation case against UT" after Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart offered Jennings the choice on May 15 to be fired for "insubordination," resign or retire.
The letter expressed concern over the release of a March 16 email from Jennings to Hart, protesting Hart's statement to Pat Summitt that she would not be coaching the Lady Vols next season. "We intentionally left Coach Summitt's name out of our correspondence to Chancellor Cheek. However Ms. Jennings stands by what is stated in her March 16 email."
In Friday's letter, Burkhalter said that if UT had a sincere interest in resolving the matter then the following was requested: Provide (Burkhalter) with a copy of all documents released to the media and "suggest the name of one or two Federal Court trained mediators U.T. would accept for a pre-suit mediation."