UT Athletics halts academic donations; money needed to fund coaching change

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek speaks during the dedication of Peyton Manning Pass on the University of Tennessee campus on Friday, October 19, 2012. (Chad Greene/Special to the News Sentinel)

Photo by Chad Greene, 2010, 2012

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek speaks during the dedication of Peyton Manning Pass on the University of Tennessee campus on Friday, October 19, 2012. (Chad Greene/Special to the News Sentinel)

The University of Tennessee Athletics Department will stop contributing nearly $6 million annually to academic scholarships, fellowships and programs for the next three years, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced Tuesday.

In a written statement, Cheek said the money “was committed under different circumstances” and that athletics needs the money to stabilize its own budget in the midst of a football coaching search.

Cheek told the News Sentinel on Monday that he did not yet have a plan for assisting the athletics department.

The school will continue to look for donations and endowments to continue the scholarships and graduate fellowships athletics had been funding, Cheek wrote. He insisted UT will honor all commitments made to students.

The school, which finished its fiscal year with a $4 million athletic budget shortfall in June, fired football coach Derek Dooley on Sunday after he posted a 15-21 overall record in nearly three seasons.

Dooley’s contract stipulates UT will have to pay out roughly $5 million for the remainder of his contract, in monthly installments of about $102,000.

Assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who will coach Saturday’s game against Kentucky, will be owed more than $4 million depending on how quickly they are able to find other jobs, and how much those jobs pay.

To cut costs, athletics announced 17 layoffs in April as part of the consolidation of the women’s and men’s athletic departments. The changes resulted in a $2.5 million savings.

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Comments » 112

dannasman writes:

Makes perfect sense! The right hire will cure the money ails in short order!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Makes sense. Hire the right coach and the money will come back many, many times. Hire a novice WAC coach with a losing record, and the money dries up. Very important to make the right hire this time.

twicevolalum writes:

THIS IS B.S. While I have especially critical of Mike Hamilton, I have no doubt that firing Coach Fulmer came with the full endorsement of Jim Haslam. Cough up your money Haslam.

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

THIS IS B.S. While I have especially critical of Mike Hamilton, I have no doubt that firing Coach Fulmer came with the full endorsement of Jim Haslam. Cough up your money Haslam.

Lighten up, Francis.

tnvol4ever writes:

Gruden sure will make the in-laws happy at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Bringing momma's baby home to stay.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

THIS IS B.S. While I have especially critical of Mike Hamilton, I have no doubt that firing Coach Fulmer came with the full endorsement of Jim Haslam. Cough up your money Haslam.

Firing Fulmer was the right decision. Hiring Kiffin was the wrong decision that has brought us to this point. Haslam didn't hire Kiffin, as far as I know.

pcorange writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Makes sense. Hire the right coach and the money will come back many, many times. Hire a novice WAC coach with a losing record, and the money dries up. Very important to make the right hire this time.

Your comment hits the nail squarely on the head. Get the right man in here and he'll pay back his salary many times over in the revenue he generates with this football team.

pcorange writes:

I've always heard that Haslam, even though he contributes millions to the program, pretty much stays out of the AD's business unless asked for advice. I've also heard that Auburn's big money man (can't remember his name) pretty much controls whoever the AD happens to be there. I guess it is probably actually better that the money man contribute and stay out of the way. Look at Jerry Jones at Dallas: lots of money, not a lick of sense.

TennesseeTuxedo writes:

A financially strong UTAD and football team is one of the biggest draws for top students that you could ever have. As late as last week, Cheek was fighting this tooth and nail. Some higher ups either applied some finesse or pulled a power play. Great decision.

twicevolalum writes:

in response to VolsVolsVols:

Lighten up, Francis.

I don't know what "Francis" refers to. I have 2 degrees from UT and love the university and the athletic program. I do believe that the athletic department should be contributing to the university. It's important. I also believe that the dismantling of the football program four years ago was a knee-jerk reaction done by a mercenary athletic director taking direction from , mostly, one man. We all know the athletic department is really under the direction of one man, Jim Haslam. Pilot is on the back of the jumbotron. Glocker is now the Haslam Business Building. If he has the money to go buy his own NFL team, he's got the money to fix the mess that began four years ago without taking resources from the campus.

Tennesseeato writes:

pcorange, Jerry is making more money than any other NFL owner. He may not know how to run a football team, but he knows how to run a business and make money.

twicevolalum writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Firing Fulmer was the right decision. Hiring Kiffin was the wrong decision that has brought us to this point. Haslam didn't hire Kiffin, as far as I know.

Really, anyone seen UGA's performance lately? I guess Mark Richt is past his prime, too. You know, the issues that most of you cite, as evidence of Fulmer being a failure didn't emerge until Hamilton was A.D. But, whatever, you people just wanted him out no matter what.

No, we don't know what the process was for hiring Kiffin. But, we do know that while a fake interview was being conducted 3 years ago with Kippy Brown, Haslam and his plane were in Louisiana getting Dooley.

Why don't you donate about 50% of your income to fix this situation!

cltvol writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

I don't know what "Francis" refers to. I have 2 degrees from UT and love the university and the athletic program. I do believe that the athletic department should be contributing to the university. It's important. I also believe that the dismantling of the football program four years ago was a knee-jerk reaction done by a mercenary athletic director taking direction from , mostly, one man. We all know the athletic department is really under the direction of one man, Jim Haslam. Pilot is on the back of the jumbotron. Glocker is now the Haslam Business Building. If he has the money to go buy his own NFL team, he's got the money to fix the mess that began four years ago without taking resources from the campus.

There you go,,confiscate & redistribute. Don't give Haslam any say over his money. After all he's exploiting the masses. Workers of the world unite!

twicevolalum writes:

in response to cltvol:

There you go,,confiscate & redistribute. Don't give Haslam any say over his money. After all he's exploiting the masses. Workers of the world unite!

Here come the Vol "fans." Idiots who never went to school, there, never wore the orange, don't know anything more than when the definition of a touchdown and totally fail to understand the connection between the university and the university's athletic program.

Flyfisherman writes:

Bottom line, Better be a d#mn good hire period.

djohnnyg writes:

Anyone else heard the Hart is talking with Bill Callahan-Off. Line coach Dallas Cowboys and former HC at Nebraska, as well as HC of the Raiders from 2002-2003?

exlineman writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

Here come the Vol "fans." Idiots who never went to school, there, never wore the orange, don't know anything more than when the definition of a touchdown and totally fail to understand the connection between the university and the university's athletic program.

I would be willing to bet, if you have two degrees from Tn. that you still owe for your student loans. Why don't you contact your friend Fulmer and ask him to turn in half of that 6 million that he didn't deserve, after all, if he is so great he should be willing to man up and give back to the University, not just the million he contributed trying to save his job. After all Johnny Majors never got that kind of money and he forgot more about football that the great Fulmer had and will ever know about coaching. Cutcliffe and Chavis carried him when they were his assistants in other words they were the crutch that he depended on.

tnsportsman writes:

UTAD was only one of 3 SEC Schools/Athletic Budgets donating Millions to Academics! Time to stop it until UTAD can regenerate a 100 million surplus!

UTAD is 100% private funded with athletic donations to run UTAD! No public money what so ever!

As far as the Haslam Family THEY WILL GIVE MILLIONS, stop it, they will BUY Gruden, PLEASE!

GO VOLS, ALWAYS!

vollynn writes:

So...Cheek is saying he wants a top 25 university out of one side of his mouth and then turns around and punishes the academic and graduate programs for horrible financial decisions made by the athletic department. UT is such a joke. And before everyone starts talking about how UT sports makes the UT academic world work, UT Athletics doesnt pay rent for all the land for their facilities. Yes, they pay for the parking lots that the students and fans use but not the land for practice fields, practice facilities, stadiums, arenas etc. If they want to become a separate business entity as Hart has been pushing for since he arrived, then it is time to pay land lease. Oh, and every athlete has to attend classes to be able to play in the NCAA. UT academics is not collecting full tuition and fees for each of those students from UT Athletics. That should change too. They need to help pay the faculty teaching their athletes. If Cheek didnt have a plan for how to deal with all these buyouts and firings as he stated earlier this week, then he has proven himself unfit for the job. This decision today just confirms that. You cant please two masters Jimmy. And last time I checked, the university is supposed to educate people, not be a professional sports franchise.

northfan writes:

in response to TennesseeTuxedo:

A financially strong UTAD and football team is one of the biggest draws for top students that you could ever have. As late as last week, Cheek was fighting this tooth and nail. Some higher ups either applied some finesse or pulled a power play. Great decision.

I hope your talking about top football players and not top academic students. A academic student does'nt care about a financially strong AD or football team. 2 of the top 3 engineering schools- MIT and Cal Tech - do not care about football-if they even have one. I graduated in 82 and my son has only applied to 2 schools so far and already accepted to UT School of Engineering and waiting on Georgia Tech and the financial health of the Athletic Dept didn't even cross our minds.

MikeCohen writes:

TwiceVolAlum: "Cough up your money Haslam." Seriously? As a UT Alum--twice--you should know better. Consider this portion of a UT news release from a couple of years ago:

Community leaders Jim and Natalie Haslam and the Haslam Family Foundation have given the University of Tennessee $32.5 million, the largest gift ever to the university from individuals.

President John Petersen and Chancellor Loren Crabtree made the announcement Thursday. The Haslams, both 1952 UT graduates, are widely known for their civic and philanthropic work. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp., both headquartered in Knoxville. A member of the UT Board of Trustees since 1980, he has announced plans to step down when his term expires next year.

The gift will support the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Athletic Department, and the Haslam Endowment.

The Haslam family has has "coughed up" more money than anyone else for UT. The Haslam Business Building. The new music building under construction. The Haslam Scholars program.

twicevolalum writes:

in response to exlineman:

I would be willing to bet, if you have two degrees from Tn. that you still owe for your student loans. Why don't you contact your friend Fulmer and ask him to turn in half of that 6 million that he didn't deserve, after all, if he is so great he should be willing to man up and give back to the University, not just the million he contributed trying to save his job. After all Johnny Majors never got that kind of money and he forgot more about football that the great Fulmer had and will ever know about coaching. Cutcliffe and Chavis carried him when they were his assistants in other words they were the crutch that he depended on.

How I personally financed my education is of no concern to you. Now, I see, you're just an old man still hanging on to Johnny Majors like a crutch.

Such a typical statement from some right winger who doesn't want an education because they might teach you something that is not approved at church!

jobrando#216494 writes:

The Gruden Era is coming soon

calvolfromkingsport writes:

Funny I don't see cfromwoodfairy offering his two nickles or any of the other nonalumnus who delight in coaching changes every 2 or three years.It's only fair that they pay their fair share. But I bet they dont and wont. Doesn't even enter their thinking because that would take half a brain.

CrankE writes:

Let me guess, another tuition hike is coming.

thevoice writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UTAD has two primary obstacles that other SEC schools don't: silly tax on athletics revenue and (now former) contributions to the school at-large.

FWBVol writes:

Aside from the obvious mismanagement of the athletic department at many levels for the last several years, it should be pointed out that the University of Tennessee athletic department has given millions of dollars to the academic side of the university that is something very few athletic programs in the nation do.

Yes, the athletic budget has suffered from having to pay off fired coaches and empty seats in Neyland, but if since 2006 the AD would have given half as much to the academic side, there would be roughly a $15-18 million surplus in the athletic department bank account.

Yes, the general fund of the university will miss the $18 million that the athletic department would have given in the next three years. And the university will have to find a way ot replace it. The solution might even cost the tax payers some money so indirectly you could argue that the athletic department is using state money.

This is not a perfect solution, but it's only temporary. The fact is donors give to the departments and organizations of their choice at the university.

The big thing is to get the AD financially healthy again so it can again give back to the general funds of the university.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to dannasman:

Makes perfect sense! The right hire will cure the money ails in short order!

No question..You invest 25-30 million in a HC and the right hire will triple that money each year..It's not biology lab that seats 100,000 people, it's Neyland Stadium..Take care of the program that has taken care of the University for decades..

thevoice writes:

in response to MikeCohen:

TwiceVolAlum: "Cough up your money Haslam." Seriously? As a UT Alum--twice--you should know better. Consider this portion of a UT news release from a couple of years ago:

Community leaders Jim and Natalie Haslam and the Haslam Family Foundation have given the University of Tennessee $32.5 million, the largest gift ever to the university from individuals.

President John Petersen and Chancellor Loren Crabtree made the announcement Thursday. The Haslams, both 1952 UT graduates, are widely known for their civic and philanthropic work. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp., both headquartered in Knoxville. A member of the UT Board of Trustees since 1980, he has announced plans to step down when his term expires next year.

The gift will support the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Athletic Department, and the Haslam Endowment.

The Haslam family has has "coughed up" more money than anyone else for UT. The Haslam Business Building. The new music building under construction. The Haslam Scholars program.

Nice come back.

UTKin1992 writes:

Well. It's a heckuva lot better than getting term life insurance policies on old alumni who don't die off fast enough! ( i. e. T.Boone Pickens/ OSU)

VolsUpsetYetAnother writes:

I want a big name coach; but more than anything I hope us true orange fans don't have to endure another three years of BS and then have to go through this phooey again! I'm enjoying the college football season less and less these days. Enough is enough! Go out and get a WINNER Hart or whoever is pulling the purse strings!!! Go Vols!

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

How I personally financed my education is of no concern to you. Now, I see, you're just an old man still hanging on to Johnny Majors like a crutch.

Such a typical statement from some right winger who doesn't want an education because they might teach you something that is not approved at church!

Typical...someone has a differing opinion, so they must be "right-winger".

tnsportsman writes:

in response to MikeCohen:

TwiceVolAlum: "Cough up your money Haslam." Seriously? As a UT Alum--twice--you should know better. Consider this portion of a UT news release from a couple of years ago:

Community leaders Jim and Natalie Haslam and the Haslam Family Foundation have given the University of Tennessee $32.5 million, the largest gift ever to the university from individuals.

President John Petersen and Chancellor Loren Crabtree made the announcement Thursday. The Haslams, both 1952 UT graduates, are widely known for their civic and philanthropic work. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp., both headquartered in Knoxville. A member of the UT Board of Trustees since 1980, he has announced plans to step down when his term expires next year.

The gift will support the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Athletic Department, and the Haslam Endowment.

The Haslam family has has "coughed up" more money than anyone else for UT. The Haslam Business Building. The new music building under construction. The Haslam Scholars program.

You are exactly right! The Haslam Family is TENNESSEE'S OSU Pickens Family!

UTAD is one of 3 SEC schools that gives Athletic Private Funds to the General University!

The Haslam Family has given more money to UTAD and the General UT Fund that anyone!

Now the Haslam Family will BUY US Gruden!

GO VOLS, ALWAYS!

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

Here come the Vol "fans." Idiots who never went to school, there, never wore the orange, don't know anything more than when the definition of a touchdown and totally fail to understand the connection between the university and the university's athletic program.

A lot of assumptions by someone calling others idiots.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe we were the only AD in the SEC that was paying that kind of money back to academics. This has been one of those competitive disadvantages referred to at the press conference.

This evens the playing field a bit and sends a strong message to our prospective hire. And that is hire not hires...as in Gruden.

tensie2004 writes:

About damn time! When was the last time 100,000 people showed up and paid $50 each to see a math contest. GO BIG ORANGE ATHLETIC!!!!

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

I don't know what "Francis" refers to. I have 2 degrees from UT and love the university and the athletic program. I do believe that the athletic department should be contributing to the university. It's important. I also believe that the dismantling of the football program four years ago was a knee-jerk reaction done by a mercenary athletic director taking direction from , mostly, one man. We all know the athletic department is really under the direction of one man, Jim Haslam. Pilot is on the back of the jumbotron. Glocker is now the Haslam Business Building. If he has the money to go buy his own NFL team, he's got the money to fix the mess that began four years ago without taking resources from the campus.

You may already have your answer, but "Lighten up Francis" was a line from the movie Stripes. Some guy named Francis Sawyer was wound a little tight and wanted to be called Psycho. So, his Sgt told him to lighten up. Good advice.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK- We will..Thank You for your wisdom

takespix writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

I don't know what "Francis" refers to. I have 2 degrees from UT and love the university and the athletic program. I do believe that the athletic department should be contributing to the university. It's important. I also believe that the dismantling of the football program four years ago was a knee-jerk reaction done by a mercenary athletic director taking direction from , mostly, one man. We all know the athletic department is really under the direction of one man, Jim Haslam. Pilot is on the back of the jumbotron. Glocker is now the Haslam Business Building. If he has the money to go buy his own NFL team, he's got the money to fix the mess that began four years ago without taking resources from the campus.

It's from the movie "Stripes"...God I feel so old!

underthehill writes:

in response to vollynn:

So...Cheek is saying he wants a top 25 university out of one side of his mouth and then turns around and punishes the academic and graduate programs for horrible financial decisions made by the athletic department. UT is such a joke. And before everyone starts talking about how UT sports makes the UT academic world work, UT Athletics doesnt pay rent for all the land for their facilities. Yes, they pay for the parking lots that the students and fans use but not the land for practice fields, practice facilities, stadiums, arenas etc. If they want to become a separate business entity as Hart has been pushing for since he arrived, then it is time to pay land lease. Oh, and every athlete has to attend classes to be able to play in the NCAA. UT academics is not collecting full tuition and fees for each of those students from UT Athletics. That should change too. They need to help pay the faculty teaching their athletes. If Cheek didnt have a plan for how to deal with all these buyouts and firings as he stated earlier this week, then he has proven himself unfit for the job. This decision today just confirms that. You cant please two masters Jimmy. And last time I checked, the university is supposed to educate people, not be a professional sports franchise.

Does 100% of Hart's salary come from athletics or does the new title bestowed on him by Cheeks result in part of his salary coming from other school funds..just asking..

twicevolalum writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

You may already have your answer, but "Lighten up Francis" was a line from the movie Stripes. Some guy named Francis Sawyer was wound a little tight and wanted to be called Psycho. So, his Sgt told him to lighten up. Good advice.

No wonder I didn't know what it was. I don't do cheap pop culture films of modern Hollywood. I do classic films. Have a nice day.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

How I personally financed my education is of no concern to you. Now, I see, you're just an old man still hanging on to Johnny Majors like a crutch.

Such a typical statement from some right winger who doesn't want an education because they might teach you something that is not approved at church!

There has been an explosion of cranky and unreasonable posters in the last few days. They don't understand the reality of the situation today and believe hiring alumni only at a 1965 salary will fix it all.

This article refers to a "correction" of a financial disadvantage we have had and is in no way a "sell out" by UT. Unfortunately, some folks just don't get it. Not sure we can enlighten them, but nice try.

johnlg00 writes:

I hate things have come to this. I for one have always been very proud of the fact that the UTAD contributes as much as it has to the university as a whole, unlike darned near every other athletic program in the country. I hope a successful football hire will return the UTAD to a financial position where it can resume support for the rest of the school.

BTW, some of you may not be aware that the state contributes less than half as much to the university as it did less than ten years ago. That is one of the main causes for the exorbitant tuition and fee increases the school has had lately. That does not, however, prevent the legislative leaders from expecting to be treated like royalty anytime they come to the school, usually for football games which they watch from the luxury boxes that the UTAD built.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't think that a $6 million/yr flip back to the AD is "coincidence" while we are searching for a new coach. Too many smoking guns to ignore the Gruden rumors...and there are many many many.

underthehill writes:

I didn't think those commenting that the big donors ..would just write a check..were being reasonable..guess this confirms it ...How can a school in the business of educating students have such incompetent business leaders over the athletic funds..

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to thevoice:

UTAD has two primary obstacles that other SEC schools don't: silly tax on athletics revenue and (now former) contributions to the school at-large.

As Hart said Sunday, our competitive disadvantages are being addressed...check. Making a Big move.

LovinMyVols writes:

I am disappointed by this. As much as we all love UT football, the first and foremost mission of the university is to educate students so that they can contribute to the betterment of the State of Tennessee. A $6 million cut to academics stings when it comes on the heals of a 12% tuition hike.

I want a big name coach as much as anybody, but taking money from academics is not the answer. Cheek needs to tell Hart to get off his tail and raise more money for his department.

I know that isn't a popular view, but it is how I feel.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to twicevolalum:

No wonder I didn't know what it was. I don't do cheap pop culture films of modern Hollywood. I do classic films. Have a nice day.

Stripes is pretty classic; early 80's, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, and Warren Oates as Sgt Hulka.

underthehill writes:

in response to MikeCohen:

TwiceVolAlum: "Cough up your money Haslam." Seriously? As a UT Alum--twice--you should know better. Consider this portion of a UT news release from a couple of years ago:

Community leaders Jim and Natalie Haslam and the Haslam Family Foundation have given the University of Tennessee $32.5 million, the largest gift ever to the university from individuals.

President John Petersen and Chancellor Loren Crabtree made the announcement Thursday. The Haslams, both 1952 UT graduates, are widely known for their civic and philanthropic work. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp., both headquartered in Knoxville. A member of the UT Board of Trustees since 1980, he has announced plans to step down when his term expires next year.

The gift will support the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Athletic Department, and the Haslam Endowment.

The Haslam family has has "coughed up" more money than anyone else for UT. The Haslam Business Building. The new music building under construction. The Haslam Scholars program.

Very appropriate post.I have a great deal of respect for all the Haslam family has done for UT and the Knoxville area is very fortunate they chose to be loyal to this area..the notion of a few that they should provide buyout money is nonsense..

LovinMyVols writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

Stripes is pretty classic; early 80's, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, and Warren Oates as Sgt Hulka.

Makes ya wanna eat at the nearest HULKABURGER franchise doesn't it? mmmmmm.... :)

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