John Adams: Vols can turn APR dilemma into a winning number

John Adams

Tennessee fans learned earlier this week their football program is in worse shape than three consecutive losing seasons would suggest.

Turns out, UT’s academic progress hasn’t been much better than its progress against Alabama and Florida.

A low APR (academic progress rate) might not resonate as much with fans as a low TDCR (third-down conversion rate). But the punishment could be severe.

For example, Tennessee could lose bowl eligibility, assuming it were physically capable of qualifying for a bowl.

Worse yet, opposing recruiters probably are chattering behind UT’s back that it cares less about academics than it did defense under former coordinator Sal Sunseri.

Advice to fans: Don’t worry.

UT’s recently announced 924, which is the APR equivalent of a 10-7 loss to Kentucky, actually could work to its advantage. That was apparent in the school’s news release, which accentuated the steps taken to put the program in good academic standing.

So what if opposing recruiters contend that UT recently has made more progress running the ball than in academics. They’re just giving coach Butch Jones and athletic director Dave Hart a platform.

Jones is new on the job. So he’s no more to blame for the 924 than an incoming freshman defensive back is for the 51 points scored by Missouri against the Vols last November. Moreover, he comes to Tennessee with a history for APR reform, having raised the numbers at both Cincinnati and Central Michigan.

Hart didn’t start at UT until September of 2011. The academic damages were piled Neyland Stadium high by then.

Together, Hart and Jones can present themselves as a two-man cleanup committee, determined to right the wrongs of the previous administrators and coaches, who thought APR was an abbreviation for April.

Jones already has cited the football team’s improved grade-point average for the spring semester. And Hart has said the structural improvements “have us strongly positioned for the future.”

More than the structure has changed. UT has hired APR guru Joe Scogin as the new leader of the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center, which houses the academic

support team (and is not one giant video-game room as the APR might indicate).

What’s next? An advertising campaign promoting UT as “The Vanderbilt of East Tennessee”?

But amid signs pointing to a happy academic ending, let’s not lose sight of the incompetence that has brought the program to the brink of APR ruin.

Assessing blame in this case isn’t like matching a name to the number of the Vol covering Alabama’s Julio Jones in 2010. However, the usual authority figures come to mind: former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who was more adept at raising funds than grades, and former coaches Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley, who didn’t always sign players capable of finishing what they started. Anyone who worked in the Thornton Center while the APR was in free fall also is a suspect.

To the blame list, you might add Sunseri and former quarterback Tyler Bray simply out of habit.

Given Bray’s fourth-quarter struggles in tight games, it’s hardly farfetched to assume he didn’t close out semesters well, either. And he did leave the program early, although you couldn’t prove it by the NFL draft.

As for Sunseri, how could anyone have expected his troops to flourish in the classroom? Trying to make sense of his defensive scheme didn’t leave much time for homework.

But let’s not get bogged down in the blame game. There’s new leadership, new structure and hope for an APR that could clear the Vols for postseason football.

Look out, Vanderbilt.

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.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 54

CrankE writes:

Why don't you get out from under Coach Nixon Satan's desk and go stand in the middle of Stokely for a few months, Little Debby?

FIRE JOHN ADAMZ.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

This article was meant to be witty and funny but in reality it was pathetic

tovolny writes:

John likes this sort of stuff, does he not?
HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS CLOWN? He loves and lives to roll in any kind of UT negativity. SOOEY JOHN, get out of the mud.

tarter_sauce writes:

i would hope Adams really knows Bray was tanking grades at the end because if his GPA was o k Adams just committed the big no no in journalism .

GerryOP writes:

Did you guys even read the column? What's the matter, too many words more than 5 letters long?

Adams stated the problem, described what is being done to solve it, and then tossed in a few words blaming some of the guys who caused the problem. I thought it was a pretty good article! What's the problem?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Did you guys even read the column? What's the matter, too many words more than 5 letters long?

Adams stated the problem, described what is being done to solve it, and then tossed in a few words blaming some of the guys who caused the problem. I thought it was a pretty good article! What's the problem?

Gerry, Sunseri and Bray and anyone else that left this year are not to blame, the APR calculations only went through Spring of 2012. But see, JA just couldn't (didn't want to) stop himself from throwing in smirky barbs with his half truths. That is the complaint.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Did you guys even read the column? What's the matter, too many words more than 5 letters long?

Adams stated the problem, described what is being done to solve it, and then tossed in a few words blaming some of the guys who caused the problem. I thought it was a pretty good article! What's the problem?

Gerry, your second paragraph was exactly correct. The problem with 80% of the article was that it stated what every Vol fan already knew. Adams is a master at stating the obviou. It's a way of filling up an article with drivel.

bigdisbig writes:

I have read obituaries more interesting than this article. Good grief!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Speyers_Spectacular_Show:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say na its cool. Witch Doctor say hes getting rid of all the dead fat leftover weight(a lot!) in the AD dept. Witch Doctor have to admit you sound so believable though being a "pretend" Vandy troll that creates 20 different logins on here and then answers your own post.(?) we know dudette).Witch Doctor say if drama were a prize we'd all be cheering you! Ha
Bones never lie.

fearthehound writes:

John Adams (the Shecky Greene of sports columnists---take my wife, please) = Speyers_Spectacular_Show. What do you think?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to fearthehound:

John Adams (the Shecky Greene of sports columnists---take my wife, please) = Speyers_Spectacular_Show. What do you think?

Witch Doctor lol! Witch Doctor say good for John that Draughons Jr. College doesnt keep records and just throws journalism degrees(close to it..kinda) out like candy! lol
(kidding Adams..kinda)
Bones never lie.

ElizabethtonvolnNC writes:

in response to Speyers_Spectacular_Show:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Duly noted, for the umpteenth time. Now, anything of value you wish to add?

dvhill100 writes:

I thought the article was fine. JA has the tongue in cheek humor which apparently doesn't translate well with some readers judging from the comments. I agree with his assessment, the new guys on the block will fix it. Stay tuned.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and anyone that believes you are really an elite athlete needs to have their head examined. "elite" athlete ha ha lmao

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

toddygurl like I've posted previously, I gotta give you credit, you are good for some comedic relief on this site with the BS you post haha

fearthehound writes:

in response to GeauxTeamScribe:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, nobody remembers anything you write, troll, because nobody cares. And if you think knowing the difference between the lines of two comedians has anything to do with academics, then you're a troll and a moron...but then, we already know you are.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I agree with Adam's on one issue, this was not an overnight situation. I believe CBJ is really delving into the character of his recruits to ensure they want to be student/athletes and realize to be successful at UT also means success in the classroom.

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, it's a conspiracy. ESPN hates you. Alabama and Florida are infiltrating your program to destroy it. Look in every closet, there is another boogey man out to get you. You people are the most paranoid and ignorant possible. If people from these other university programs are so intent on getting you, quit hiring them! Maybe things are so bad on the Hill that poor is all you can get. Next thing you know, Butch Jones loses seven or eight games and he's a Cincinnati spy out to destroy UT.

Nighthawk writes:

I spoke to a highly placed UT athletic employee 2 years ago who bemoaned the fact that our academic standards were too high, and we were losing top players to Bama, LSU, and others because of it.

BTW, that person is still there.

Academics should be emphasized, after all, they are "student athletes". UT should not be seen as a "football factory".

We shouldn't have to be Vanderbilt East, or compared to any other program. We should be building a reputation and legacy that will have other schools wanting to be compared to UT, on the field as well as in the classroom.

Volfan1 writes:

I am a long-term anti-Adams member. But for once he got it right. Hart and Jones are not to blame, Kitten, Hammy & Doofus are. They are gone. We now have a golden opportunity, the structure and the momentum to clean this up. Give blame AND credit where it's due.

MetroplexMojo writes:

I think this article may shed some light on why the APR situation is so bad. Since it does not blame "Bama Dave", I will be called a sunshine pumper or something like that.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootb...

madrigal writes:

While the football team's APR is 924, which is pretty bad, that of the Lady Vols basketball team is 990. I rest my case.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Silly troll…

Yes… I’m sure it’s a conspiracy. And I’m sure Butch Jones will quickly be reprimanded and handed a pink slip for his top 5 recruiting efforts thus far, his efforts in reuniting the fan base as well as former players, and the vast GPA improvement from the Spring semester. How dare he interfere with ‘Bama Dave’s’ master plan to destroy UT athletics.

We all knew you were an idiot, but thanks for opening your mouth and confirming it.

It’s pretty bad when you fail as a troll. You might want to consider a new hobby.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Yeah, it's a conspiracy. ESPN hates you. Alabama and Florida are infiltrating your program to destroy it. Look in every closet, there is another boogey man out to get you. You people are the most paranoid and ignorant possible. If people from these other university programs are so intent on getting you, quit hiring them! Maybe things are so bad on the Hill that poor is all you can get. Next thing you know, Butch Jones loses seven or eight games and he's a Cincinnati spy out to destroy UT.

I don't believe toddy's baloney about Hart and Cheek but if we're so paranoid and ignorant why don't you stay off this site and go to a Gump site

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to MetroplexMojo:

I think this article may shed some light on why the APR situation is so bad. Since it does not blame "Bama Dave", I will be called a sunshine pumper or something like that.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootb...

Interesting article. However, if USC had such ‘high standards’ as Haden put it, they shouldn’t have hired Kiffin and Orgeron to begin with, knowing the immaturity, baggage and violations following them.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They do have a former UT HC, so i guess they're not too biased.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hardly feel he rejoiced either..

antonio14313 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I got to admit, Troll… you make me laugh. Your conspiracy theories are so far-fetched that ‘ridiculous’ isn’t even an appropriate word to describe them.

Jones is a big factor in Hart’s future. If he was looking to plague UT athletics, I’m quite certain he would have targeted someone with a losing record. At the very least, he would have set the ground rules for Jones’ employment in a way that failure was imminent. He didn’t do either, and coaches certainly can’t hire themselves. And if Hart had nothing to do with Jones being hired, please provide the documentation to prove that. However, if all you’re going to offer are more dubious claims with nothing to support them other than conspiracy theories motivated by getting a rise out of people, save yourself the effort and just admit you’re wrong… you’re not fooling anyone.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I agree with Adam's on one issue, this was not an overnight situation. I believe CBJ is really delving into the character of his recruits to ensure they want to be student/athletes and realize to be successful at UT also means success in the classroom.

My father went to UT in the 60s and he is as big of a Vol fan as you are. But at least he does not bury his head in the sand. My father tells it like it was and probably still is on the "Hill".

Back in the 60s my father tells the story about how the Vol football "players" would show up at the large lecture halls on test day to "fill out" their test bubble sheet, filled out the sheet then abruptly left the building 10 minutes later on their way out the door the Vol players were slapping high fives with each other while the real students struggled through the test.

My solution is to simply pay the players for their services and forget about corrupting the academic setting with that sort of garbage. Everyone know it goes on except apparently you.

\
Just Saying

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

My father went to UT in the 60s and he is as big of a Vol fan as you are. But at least he does not bury his head in the sand. My father tells it like it was and probably still is on the "Hill".

Back in the 60s my father tells the story about how the Vol football "players" would show up at the large lecture halls on test day to "fill out" their test bubble sheet, filled out the sheet then abruptly left the building 10 minutes later on their way out the door the Vol players were slapping high fives with each other while the real students struggled through the test.

My solution is to simply pay the players for their services and forget about corrupting the academic setting with that sort of garbage. Everyone know it goes on except apparently you.

\
Just Saying

Why don't you and your father GFY's? Just said.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Why don't you and your father GFY's? Just said.

don't you think it is a little early to be drinking

Olddogsrule writes:

More smarmy word vomit from John Adams whose only goal is to instigate more smarmy word vomit from posters.

I'm beginning to believe Knoxville and The University of Tennessee would be better off if the News-Sentinel just went bankrupt and we no longer had a major print journalism source as bad as the Knoxville News-Sentinel is.

They could do a lot to correct this if they'd move johnny-boy into obituaries. One obit by John Adams and an irate family would take care of the rest.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

More smarmy word vomit from John Adams whose only goal is to instigate more smarmy word vomit from posters.

I'm beginning to believe Knoxville and The University of Tennessee would be better off if the News-Sentinel just went bankrupt and we no longer had a major print journalism source as bad as the Knoxville News-Sentinel is.

They could do a lot to correct this if they'd move johnny-boy into obituaries. One obit by John Adams and an irate family would take care of the rest.

Just be thankful you don't have to read the Cincinnati Enquirer. You would think the KNS was the best newspaper on the planet regarding the sports section.

MetroplexMojo writes:

Happy Father's Day weekend to all the dads out there. Hopefully everyone can enjoy the beautiful weather before it gets too oppressive.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Nighthawk:

I spoke to a highly placed UT athletic employee 2 years ago who bemoaned the fact that our academic standards were too high, and we were losing top players to Bama, LSU, and others because of it.

BTW, that person is still there.

Academics should be emphasized, after all, they are "student athletes". UT should not be seen as a "football factory".

We shouldn't have to be Vanderbilt East, or compared to any other program. We should be building a reputation and legacy that will have other schools wanting to be compared to UT, on the field as well as in the classroom.

Ask your " highly placed UT athletic employee" to name one player who was rejected for academics at UT and went on to play for another SEC school. Then ask him to name an SEC school who admitted a academically rejected Florida player to play defensive line.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to SevenT:

My father went to UT in the 60s and he is as big of a Vol fan as you are. But at least he does not bury his head in the sand. My father tells it like it was and probably still is on the "Hill".

Back in the 60s my father tells the story about how the Vol football "players" would show up at the large lecture halls on test day to "fill out" their test bubble sheet, filled out the sheet then abruptly left the building 10 minutes later on their way out the door the Vol players were slapping high fives with each other while the real students struggled through the test.

My solution is to simply pay the players for their services and forget about corrupting the academic setting with that sort of garbage. Everyone know it goes on except apparently you.

\
Just Saying

I took classes with football players and that never happened. I have studied with them in the library and after classes and saw their results. Some of them were not brilliant but the old wives tales about all the cheating are just that. Tales. Do some cheat . Yes they do but it is not a wholesale happening. And like some just found out they will get caught.
If a free college education isn't enough tell them to go play arena league

CoverOrange writes:

in response to budd#207344:

I took classes with football players and that never happened. I have studied with them in the library and after classes and saw their results. Some of them were not brilliant but the old wives tales about all the cheating are just that. Tales. Do some cheat . Yes they do but it is not a wholesale happening. And like some just found out they will get caught.
If a free college education isn't enough tell them to go play arena league

To your rebuttal, most students, and even most professors, at any university or college don't give a darn about football or any other sport. If cheating like that went on many whistles would be blowing.

Nighthawk writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Ask your " highly placed UT athletic employee" to name one player who was rejected for academics at UT and went on to play for another SEC school. Then ask him to name an SEC school who admitted a academically rejected Florida player to play defensive line.

He actually gave me a name as an example of what he was saying. It was a highly touted running back that went to Bama, who really wanted to come to UT. This guy is credible and spoke to me in confidence. If I told you who the man is, you would not doubt him, not one bit.

As far as the Gator reject, we both know there are schools above us academically and some that are below us. We benefit from some, lose to others. At the end of the day, I'll take the higher academic standards.

jmaples54 writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

More smarmy word vomit from John Adams whose only goal is to instigate more smarmy word vomit from posters.

I'm beginning to believe Knoxville and The University of Tennessee would be better off if the News-Sentinel just went bankrupt and we no longer had a major print journalism source as bad as the Knoxville News-Sentinel is.

They could do a lot to correct this if they'd move johnny-boy into obituaries. One obit by John Adams and an irate family would take care of the rest.

john adams gets a decent paycheck for writing his "vomit." that's his primary motivation.

what do you get for writing your infantile word vomit?

please submit your vomit to the kns as an oped. maybe they'll print it and you'll have a new career replacing adams.

ActualUTAlum writes:

in response to shiftb:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dave Hart was brought in to fix Mike Hamilton's mess and oversee the merger of the two athletic departments. That is exactly what he's doing. Every problem that has surfaced since he's been here was years in the making, and are only coming to light because Hart is doing his job in fixing them. Period.

You're right about Cheek, though. That clown has to go.

Southland writes:

folks I have little to say on this. Vandy has some of the dumbest people I have ever met so no we do not want to be the vandy of east tennessee. UT will fix the problem. The turmoil of the last five years has brought about a lot of bad stuff and it can be fixed. We have a problem. It will be fixed within a year. Adams is not the problem. He writes to provoke and in this he is effective. He, I am sure, would rather write negative stuff in prosperous times than in bad times such as we have had. UT will be fixed but Adams will not.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Nighthawk:

He actually gave me a name as an example of what he was saying. It was a highly touted running back that went to Bama, who really wanted to come to UT. This guy is credible and spoke to me in confidence. If I told you who the man is, you would not doubt him, not one bit.

As far as the Gator reject, we both know there are schools above us academically and some that are below us. We benefit from some, lose to others. At the end of the day, I'll take the higher academic standards.

Name the player. I have heard this tale for years yet I have not heard a name. Until I do I will continue to doubt that it happened.

fearthehound writes:

Is there a pattern here? I've noticed how when there is a column written, a real fan will make a comment--maybe two or three. Then a sneaky, slimy troll will intoduce itself (ugh). Then, all of a sudden, we all start responding and arguing with the slimy trolls (see sevenT, speyer(whatever), shiftb, whatever Jeffy or Toddy's current sceen name is). Why do we play into their silly little plans that way? Why don't we ignore them and continue with our own positive conversations, rather than respond and enable their silliness?

I've wondered more than once, what pathological insecurity or self-hating would make a person camp out on a fan website so he (it) could make negative comments every time that site posts a story for it's FANS' enjoyment? Maybe we should actually stop and think about the mindset that enables this kind of behavior. I mean, put yourself in the shoes of the Jefffy or Toddy guy and imagine your life: you wake up in the morning in your mom's garage. You think, "I think I'll go on the UT fans' website and make comments about how everything there sucks". Can you imagine a life like that? I'll be glad to contribute to some therapy for him (them). UT fans are pretty generous, and I'll bet we could get the help needed all paid for.

I went to UT--and graduated from there. I love my school, and I hate (in a normal competetive way) the competition. But I have to honestly say, I've never--nor would I ever-- consider going on the FANS' site of the competition to mess with their fans--why would I want to do that?

I guess I'm saying all of this to ask if anyone knows why a loser Alabama--Vanderbilt--Florida--Kentucky--Memphis High fan would be so pathetic as to feel the need to waste their time this way. I note we dont't seem to have as much trouble with the Georgia and South Carolina fans.

So, what's the deal?

fearthehound writes:

in response to Southland:

folks I have little to say on this. Vandy has some of the dumbest people I have ever met so no we do not want to be the vandy of east tennessee. UT will fix the problem. The turmoil of the last five years has brought about a lot of bad stuff and it can be fixed. We have a problem. It will be fixed within a year. Adams is not the problem. He writes to provoke and in this he is effective. He, I am sure, would rather write negative stuff in prosperous times than in bad times such as we have had. UT will be fixed but Adams will not.

Good post, but I'm not sure I agree with you about Adams. 'He writes to provoke' is a little too kind. It seems to me, he writes more from ego than some altruistic literary newsman angle.

Adams thinks he is clever and he delivers his stories from the 'disintersted third party newsman with a clever wit and sharp tongue' angle. But it's all set up to make him look good.

A hard newsman should have no loyalties, but a hometown sports columnist?? In a college town??

RememberWhen writes:

Typical TN fan reaction...lmao! They always want to blame the messenger, everybody is always out to get them, and if you're not one of their family in-bred's you've been sent by the mystical geniuses of Bama or FL to destroy all of east TN. How comical!!! FACT is - NOBODY outside of your little trailer park commune even remotely cares about TN anymore! Can you try to say IRRELEVENT!!?? So please stop lying to yourselves, accept that the 2 major programs are a joke, and just keep hoping that ole Butch is the right guy - cause if he's not you gap toothed mororns are looking dead in the eye of TWO decades of being a laughingstock! Deal with it - the truth will set you free!

RememberWhen writes:

in response to Nighthawk:

I spoke to a highly placed UT athletic employee 2 years ago who bemoaned the fact that our academic standards were too high, and we were losing top players to Bama, LSU, and others because of it.

BTW, that person is still there.

Academics should be emphasized, after all, they are "student athletes". UT should not be seen as a "football factory".

We shouldn't have to be Vanderbilt East, or compared to any other program. We should be building a reputation and legacy that will have other schools wanting to be compared to UT, on the field as well as in the classroom.

Now that is a truly laughable little story you tell! Tennessee has high academic standards. Said. Nobody. Ever.

fearthehound writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Typical TN fan reaction...lmao! They always want to blame the messenger, everybody is always out to get them, and if you're not one of their family in-bred's you've been sent by the mystical geniuses of Bama or FL to destroy all of east TN. How comical!!! FACT is - NOBODY outside of your little trailer park commune even remotely cares about TN anymore! Can you try to say IRRELEVENT!!?? So please stop lying to yourselves, accept that the 2 major programs are a joke, and just keep hoping that ole Butch is the right guy - cause if he's not you gap toothed mororns are looking dead in the eye of TWO decades of being a laughingstock! Deal with it - the truth will set you free!

'FACT is - NOBODY outside of your little trailer park commune even remotely cares about TN anymore!' Yet, here you are daily with one of your 27 screen names, obsessing over us. Pathetic--truly sad!!

mborokyvol writes:

Once again jadams couldn't resist taking his shots a UT. Kicking while down is his favorite pass time. My suggestion to jadams is a simple one: Gouge out our own eyes. So you don't have to read the mindless, weak-spined drivel that you have such a penchant for writing. And hle your at o ahead and move down to Alabama.

Einstein writes:

You can be assured that Bray, Sentimore and Patterson were not worried about their grades.

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