University of Tennessee trustees say complaints that administration is obstructing athletics aren't accurate

University of Tennessee trustees say they've recently been peppered with calls and emails from fans complaining that the school's academic administration was obstructing the football program.

Trustee Doug Horne of Knoxville said he's not sure what prompted the barrage of correspondence, but rumors of a divisive relationship between Tennessee's athletics department and its academic side simply aren't true.

Horne said trustees have discussed the issue with UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and are satisfied that everyone is on the same page, particularly in the admissions process, which was apparently a source of concern for some fans.

In a letter to Don Stansberry, the trustees vice chair, Cheek said Tennessee's admission policies for athletes are comparable to other SEC schools and there are "procedures in place that allow us flexibility in admissions."

Horne said some fans mistakenly believe that Tennessee is at a competitive disadvantage to other schools.

"We're very conscious that there are some kids that we need to get in athletically who don't have the highest scores," Horne said.

Horne said he believes that Athletic Director Dave Hart, football coach Derek Dooley and men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin are happy with the admissions system that's currently in place.

"The board of trustees and the administration are very cognizant of what Vice Chancellor Hart, Coach Dooley and Coach Martin need," Horne said. "We asked the chancellor and the provost to make sure we've got a special system to review certain cases, and we do.

"I'm not sure where all the complaints started with the radio talk show people. I think the coaches in all our sports are pleased with the way we specially review cases."

Cheek said he's committed to "comprehensive excellence" in both academics and athletics and was willing to work with Hart on financial issues. Since being hired a year ago, Hart has talked frankly about the financial shape of Tennessee's athletic department, which has the lowest reserve fund in the SEC and the highest debt service.

"The athletics department gives about $6 million a year to support academic scholarships and debt service on parking garages," Cheek said in the letter to Stansberry. "Most of these commitments were made under previous administrations. Dave Hart and I continue to examine these commitments and we will do the right thing to make sure the budget for athletics is healthy moving forward."

Horne said he believes the struggles in the football program have caused people to start pointing fingers.

"When people contact (the trustees), we make sure we check it out. We listen," Horne said. "I think it's symptomatic of the struggles in the football program. We're very sympathetic to Coach Dooley and Dave Hart to make sure they have everything they need."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 34

florida-volfan writes:

I'm starting to think that UF has sent this Jimmy Cheek dude up here to run UT athletics into the ground....not really sure what's going on at UT right now. And that freakin Mike Hamilton did a pretty good job of helping this situation, all athletic departments need to steer clear of that clown. And I'm really starting to wonder about this Sunseri situation, Saban certainly didnt try hard to keep the guy, he is making some calls on defense that have me scratching my head, its being pointed out by every analyst that does a UT football game

pcorange writes:

The "needs" that the board needs to help Dooley with is his buyout.

killervol69 writes:

So, CDD, CCM, and AD-DH are all "happy" with the admission system that's in place......Yeah, right, I bet they are. Do we expect them (who are on Jimmy Cheek's payroll) to actually say no, we believe it's hurting UT? Get real. I am 100% sure Coach Doug Matthews knows what he's talking about, and that our stringent admission guidelines are hurting us, and keeping us from being competetive in the upper tier of SEC. I am a small donor, but I call all BIG TIME donors to keep banging on Florida-Boy Cheeks desk for answers, and to fix what's broke!!

nocleats writes:

If a player would be ruled ineligible to Enroll @ Tennessee but would be accepted at other SEC schools, THAT IS A PROBLEM!

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Jimmy Cheek is trying to destroy UT football or at least put us on par with Vanderbilt.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Gossip abounds. Paranoia is the foundation of society. Chaos rules. Sharks feed on blood.Wolves take down the weak.lol I'm scaring myself.

senatorgip#470888 writes:

Anyone who believes that politics in this state does not play a role in the administration at UT simply doesn't understand reality. From what I have personally seen in the treatment of state employess by the current administration in power, there is nothing that surprises me today in Tennessee government including the University.The denial by the authorities cited in this article does not surprise me either. If our citizens and fans really knew what went on in Nashville and Knoxville behind the scenes, they would be appalled, shocked and sickened in how corrupt the institutions have become. You dont need to take my word--ask someone you personally know who is employed by the state.. You will be dismayed. However, the people and fans still matter and can ultimately force change within the corrupt systems. The more pressure applied by the public and the media the better chance we have in seeing positive results.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I happen to know a few people from Alabama. A few from Kentucky. Some from Florida and Louisiana . Some good hot sauce comes from Louisiana. I myself am a Georgia transplant that's lived here since middle school.

Why do we hate Cheeks and others just because of the state they're from? Who cares where a person is born or has lived really? I personally don't know Cheeks. I don't know any reason Cheek would have to "sabotage" UT. If that's his goal in life then I DO feel for him. Dang the gossip and just support UT and sports so I can enjoy my Saturdays and posting about the games . NOT ALL THIS NONSENSE. I mean do people really believe all this junk??

"UT's getting too good!! How can we pull them down?" Really? "I know a 'mole' or two at UT!"

"LIKE a roaring lion, seeking whom they may devour"!! goodness gracious

wallingdad writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Jimmy Cheek is trying to destroy UT football or at least put us on par with Vanderbilt.

It would appear that he has completed his task.

dvhill100 writes:

Somebody needs to put a tent over this circus.

jobrando#216494 writes:

This destruction of UT football is just the tip of the iceberg

jopad writes:

in response to nocleats:

If a player would be ruled ineligible to Enroll @ Tennessee but would be accepted at other SEC schools, THAT IS A PROBLEM!

This is not a problem!!! Have we forgotten why our Universities were founded? The athletic program is secondary to the mission of the institution. Are you familiar with the term "student-athlete". Those who participate in college athletics must be held accountable for their academic standing and progress as any non athlete! I want the Vols to win in athletic competition but I hope the goal of the University is to educate and prepare students for the future, not solely to produce good football teams so those who live vicariously through the team can be satisfied. Be proud of the University and hope it is an institution of learning first and a producer of good athletic teams second.

AirForceVol2786 writes:

It has nothing to do with admissions, and everything to do with Jimmy Cheek sticking his nose in buisness where it doesn't need to be. I realize that he is ultimately Dave Hart's boss but Cheek has no real knowledge of how to run an athletic department. Jimmy Cheek needs to go away, along with Dooley.

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to AirForceVol2786:

It has nothing to do with admissions, and everything to do with Jimmy Cheek sticking his nose in buisness where it doesn't need to be. I realize that he is ultimately Dave Hart's boss but Cheek has no real knowledge of how to run an athletic department. Jimmy Cheek needs to go away, along with Dooley.

Here Here! Apparently doesn't know anything about contracts either! He's been center stage with regard to every one of these interesting contracts Tennessee's involved in, where they're either paying some clown not to work, or to display their incompetence if they are.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I happen to know a few people from Alabama. A few from Kentucky. Some from Florida and Louisiana . Some good hot sauce comes from Louisiana. I myself am a Georgia transplant that's lived here since middle school.

Why do we hate Cheeks and others just because of the state they're from? Who cares where a person is born or has lived really? I personally don't know Cheeks. I don't know any reason Cheek would have to "sabotage" UT. If that's his goal in life then I DO feel for him. Dang the gossip and just support UT and sports so I can enjoy my Saturdays and posting about the games . NOT ALL THIS NONSENSE. I mean do people really believe all this junk??

"UT's getting too good!! How can we pull them down?" Really? "I know a 'mole' or two at UT!"

"LIKE a roaring lion, seeking whom they may devour"!! goodness gracious

I remember another Florida guy who was the football coach and the AD at UT. He did a pretty good at both. Doug Dickey.
Some of the comments & theories one here so far out there they are funny.

GBO - Wait Till Year After Next

Pompey writes:

....my concern is the the gross lack of oversight exhibited by trustee's that has allowed unqualified individuals such as Mike Hamilton and Jimmy Cheek to rise to levels of key decision makers in what was a major football program....change that, and you will stop those emails....!

tovolny writes:

I think I can sum everything up with just one name: David GOMER Climer. This is the main one but others are among us. And, we already know who they are. Fabrication of information...indefensible. One can wear a bullet-proof vest to defend against bullets. But folks, there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves from the pen of the creative journalist lurking in our midst.

Millisa writes:

Fire Dooley NOW

qdall writes:

in response to nocleats:

If a player would be ruled ineligible to Enroll @ Tennessee but would be accepted at other SEC schools, THAT IS A PROBLEM!

UT will accept athletes who have been denied at other SEC schools. The football player, Phillips, after being denied admission at Florida was granted admission to UT in early August.

pcorange writes:

in response to jopad:

This is not a problem!!! Have we forgotten why our Universities were founded? The athletic program is secondary to the mission of the institution. Are you familiar with the term "student-athlete". Those who participate in college athletics must be held accountable for their academic standing and progress as any non athlete! I want the Vols to win in athletic competition but I hope the goal of the University is to educate and prepare students for the future, not solely to produce good football teams so those who live vicariously through the team can be satisfied. Be proud of the University and hope it is an institution of learning first and a producer of good athletic teams second.

I agree with you in theory, but the fact is that in order to compete in big-time college athletics, you have to be able to attract kids to play for you who have grown up in ghettos and have been more interested in surviving than learning. That is just today's reality. Unless the NCAA forces stringent admission requirements on all schools, then in order to compete for recruits, we have to be able to match our peers. I really don't think UT's admissions standards are that much tougher than everyone else's, though. This is glossing over the bigger problem: we don't have a coach.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to killervol69:

So, CDD, CCM, and AD-DH are all "happy" with the admission system that's in place......Yeah, right, I bet they are. Do we expect them (who are on Jimmy Cheek's payroll) to actually say no, we believe it's hurting UT? Get real. I am 100% sure Coach Doug Matthews knows what he's talking about, and that our stringent admission guidelines are hurting us, and keeping us from being competetive in the upper tier of SEC. I am a small donor, but I call all BIG TIME donors to keep banging on Florida-Boy Cheeks desk for answers, and to fix what's broke!!

Name me five athletes that UT lost to admissions that went on to good careers at other SEC schools. And while you are at it ask Matthews to name you five. There is a reason he is doing talk radio and not coaching.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to pcorange:

I agree with you in theory, but the fact is that in order to compete in big-time college athletics, you have to be able to attract kids to play for you who have grown up in ghettos and have been more interested in surviving than learning. That is just today's reality. Unless the NCAA forces stringent admission requirements on all schools, then in order to compete for recruits, we have to be able to match our peers. I really don't think UT's admissions standards are that much tougher than everyone else's, though. This is glossing over the bigger problem: we don't have a coach.

Do you know the name of the university that has the most overall national championships in NCAA history? Its Stanford. So save that phooey about needing stupid athletes for talk radio. It aint true.

pingkr62 writes:

This makes no since. If there is a problem with getting players in school, why have we had so few non-qualifiers over the last three years. If I'm missing something, would someone PLEASE educate me?

GerryOP writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Jimmy Cheek is trying to destroy UT football or at least put us on par with Vanderbilt.

The fans and the press do a pretty good of trashing UT athletics. You naysaying negaVols don't need Cheek's help.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to killervol69:

So, CDD, CCM, and AD-DH are all "happy" with the admission system that's in place......Yeah, right, I bet they are. Do we expect them (who are on Jimmy Cheek's payroll) to actually say no, we believe it's hurting UT? Get real. I am 100% sure Coach Doug Matthews knows what he's talking about, and that our stringent admission guidelines are hurting us, and keeping us from being competetive in the upper tier of SEC. I am a small donor, but I call all BIG TIME donors to keep banging on Florida-Boy Cheeks desk for answers, and to fix what's broke!!

Doug Matthews is an idiot. He makes it sound like we have Vanderbilt type admissions, which is insane.

The guy is a bitter ex vol and he loves to promote Fulmer 24/7.

Bitter bitter ex coach who likes to get attention, because it's the only thing he ever received any recognition from.

Matthews is so old and out of touch he doesnt seem to understand GSR exist today. The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is designed to show the proportion of student-athletes on
any given team who earn a college degree. The NCAA has imposed a new set of academic standards
that seeks to hold teams and institutions accountable for how well a student-athlete progresses toward a degree.
The GSR was developed in response to colleges and universities who asked for an alternative rate that more accurately reflects the movement among college student-athletes. The GSR takes into account incoming transfers who graduate from a different institution than the one they started at and transfers who leave an institution in good standing.

If any University loses its GSR rating they start taking away scholarships.

Maybe Matthews should worry long term instead of thinking one season, but how would he know current college restrictions he hasn't coached since the 80's or was that the 70's it's been so long ago now.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

This makes no since. If there is a problem with getting players in school, why have we had so few non-qualifiers over the last three years. If I'm missing something, would someone PLEASE educate me?

Doug Matthews an out of touch old coach went on the radio trying to stir up a story saying UT had tightened up their admissions process. He tried to say because UT can't recruit idiots we are losing football games. Which just shows his age and mentality.

GSR exist today to hold Universities accountable for their admissions and graduation rates. If your GSR score falls below a certain number the NCAA will restrict scholarships.

So it's Matthews theory its better to have a few dummies that are football robots, than to keep your GSR up and maintain full scholarship level.

GerryOP writes:

You're 2nd sentence says it all. He is so bitter and biased I don't even read his stuff.

Hmmmmm? Is there a chance that Matthews is really the guy you folks call Flowers? Could be....

pingkr62 writes:

in response to tnoutlaw2001#228008:

Doug Matthews an out of touch old coach went on the radio trying to stir up a story saying UT had tightened up their admissions process. He tried to say because UT can't recruit idiots we are losing football games. Which just shows his age and mentality.

GSR exist today to hold Universities accountable for their admissions and graduation rates. If your GSR score falls below a certain number the NCAA will restrict scholarships.

So it's Matthews theory its better to have a few dummies that are football robots, than to keep your GSR up and maintain full scholarship level.

Didn't Mike Slive / SEC also increase the minimum GPA by .5?

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

Here's a side story of what happened to Uconn basketball;

"There is one huge caveat in this -- and it's a place where UConn does deserve blame: transfer students. UConn's GSR took a hit because some players left for a paycheck without being in good academic standing -- but it was also impacted by players headed to different schools who didn't get their coursework together. That's an inexcusable oversight on UConn's part, which definitely hurt the school's APR score (leading to the postseason ban) and probably hurt the GSR score (leading to more bad press). It's especially bad since UConn can refuse to release a player unless they get their grades in order.

I'll add two final things. First, you won't see it in any of the press releases about the release of the GSR, but the numbers used this time around were for students who entered in 2002-06, however, the GSR wasn't implemented until 2005. I know it will stun UConn fans to know that the NCAA is using something retroactive to make them look bad, but there you go. Second, the numbers released last week reflect a different era in UConn basketball. This is a reflection of the players coming in (and going out) five or ten years ago, it's not a reflection of what's going on today. The school has beefed-up its NCAA compliance division and its APR scores have been skyrocketing of late."

If you notice that last comment, "The school has beefed-up its NCAA compliance division and its APR scores have been skyrocketing of late."

So UT is doing ok if you ask me.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to florida-volfan:

I'm starting to think that UF has sent this Jimmy Cheek dude up here to run UT athletics into the ground....not really sure what's going on at UT right now. And that freakin Mike Hamilton did a pretty good job of helping this situation, all athletic departments need to steer clear of that clown. And I'm really starting to wonder about this Sunseri situation, Saban certainly didnt try hard to keep the guy, he is making some calls on defense that have me scratching my head, its being pointed out by every analyst that does a UT football game

Do you realize how stupid this conspiracy talk sounds? Jimmy Cheek is doing his freakin' job and that's ensuring UT students (and would be students) get the finest education their money can buy. The university is having problems because UT's fb team can't play defense?? Get real..

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Maybe people should quit believing everything they read on internet!

GerryOP writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

Maybe people should quit believing everything they read on internet!

... and everything they hear from some jaw-flapping schmo on the radio.

killervol69 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Name me five athletes that UT lost to admissions that went on to good careers at other SEC schools. And while you are at it ask Matthews to name you five. There is a reason he is doing talk radio and not coaching.

Nice post, Zippy. I'm gonna have to ask you to calm down before you have a coronary over there, Mr.doolaide drinker.

OrangeMike writes:

in response to pingkr62:

This makes no since. If there is a problem with getting players in school, why have we had so few non-qualifiers over the last three years. If I'm missing something, would someone PLEASE educate me?

Well it might have to do with how poorly we have recruited during those three years.

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