Maybe Peyton Can Help Out

We know he has some experience:

The University of Tennessee has relieved the director of bands of his duties and put him on paid administrative leave for the rest of the fall semester following the band’s complaints regarding reduced travel and budget cuts.

The university announced Monday that Gary Sousa had been relieved as director of the Pride of the Southland Band due to insubordination, a misrepresentation of facts and a lack of confidence in his ability ”to work constructively and collaboratively with others going forward.” The move is pending a full review.
That makes me sick even thinking about it.

Well, Well, Well – Look Who Took Some Money

Former Tennessee running back Arian Foster has this to say:

“I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year, I was getting money on the side,” said Foster. “I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, ‘Man, be careful.’ But there’s nothing wrong with it. And you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it.

Well, I guess he has a lot more to say, but you can click the link for that.

I don’t doubt there are a lot of really poor kids that attend school on athletic scholarships.  I have no doubts that many of these kids have zero discretionary money to use.  It would be plain stupid to say otherwise.

But I do not buy the “either pay rent or buy some food argument.”  Something is missing whenever we hear that.  You can bet on it.

Athletes that receive major college football scholarships don’t usually go hungry.  And they aren’t usually homeless.  Schools may break up or allocate their scholarship benefits differently, but they aren’t expecting their athletes to scratch up their own meal money or rent.  That just doesn’t happen.

Let me put it another way that maybe will make sense.  When Foster showed up in Knoxville to enroll, I’m guessing somebody explained “here’s how you eat” and “you can live in certain places and here’s how that’s paid for.”  I’m guessing that Foster was probably given access to meals or money for rent and it was spent on other things.  Not that he didn’t need those other things, but when you spend it, it’s gone.

Later in the article, he also mentions this:

“I said, ‘Coach, we don’t have no food. We don’t have no money. We’re hungry. Either you give us some food, or I’m gonna go do something stupid.’ He came down and he brought like 50 tacos for like four or five of us. Which is an NCAA violation. [laughs] But then, the next day I walk up to the facility and I see my coach pull up in a brand new Lexus. Beautiful.”

Coach is working 80 or 90 hours, never sees his family and is driving a comped Lexus and I’ve spent my meal money so I’ll get him to babysit me and come on over and commit an NCAA violation.  Got it.

The system is broken, but I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to muster any sympathy here.

I could be totally wrong.  Maybe Foster actually was expected to pay for his apartment and pay for his food on his own.  But I just can’t see how.



Tennessee’s Payment Plan

Derek Dooley is supposedly on the “hot seat” at Tennessee and many folks want to know the magic number of wins the Vols have to have for Dooley to keep his job.

I would argue his job is a little safer than most think:

Weaved among a litany of roots that shrunk the University of Tennessee athletic department’s financial reserve to below $2 million following the 2011-12 fiscal year was, “Changes in leadership,” according to a UT financial update released on Aug. 27.

With change comes residual effects.

“During the past four years, the athletics department has experienced a significant expense related to payments to former coaches in the sports of football, baseball and men’s basketball as well as former directors of athletics,” the release said.

According to the article, once a coach has been shown the door, the full amount of the related buyout is placed into an escrow account where monthly payments are made to this dismissed coach:

For instance, after inking a separation agreement with Fulmer effective Nov. 30, 2008, the coach’s full 48-month payout worth $6 million was placed in an escrow account, put on the books for the 2008-09 financial year, and ultimately paid out in $125,000 monthly installments.

The same applied for Pearl’s buyout of $948,728 paid out over 15 months following his March 2011 termination. As well as former baseball coach Todd Raleigh, who replaced Delmonico in 2007, and received a $331,657.531 buyout over 13 months after being fired in May 2011.

Even former athletics director Mike Hamilton got in on the action:

After his resignation in June 2011, and ultimately replaced by Hart, Hamilton, the former athletic director, signed a separation agreement for $1,335,000 to be paid out over 36 months.

He’s been receiving just over $37,000 per month since and will continue to do so until July 2014.

In case you are counting, that’s one football coach, one basketball coach, two baseball coaches and an athletic director that have been skeedaddled since 2007.  Seeing how UT’s overall athletic department financial reserve is now below $2 million, I think Dooley has a little more slack than most fans would think.

Norcalvol’s UT Prediction

Norcalvol does good work and you can see some more of it here in his preview of the 2012 Vols.

He thinks the Vols go 8-4:

A paper study leads me to 7 wins this season. But, from the recruiting results, to the new coaches, to the new defensive philosophy, to the thoughts of a healthy Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter for an entire season, and to the general vibe of confidence and togetherness coming out of pre-season camp, I feel reasonably optimistic for an additional win.

And the dismissal of Da’Rick Rogers doesn’t change that tally one way or the other.

I’m not quite that optimistic:

6) Tennessee Volunteers [4-8 (1-7)] – The recent Da’Rick Rogers news backed me off the Tennessee bandwagon a bit. Tyler Bray and JustinHunter (if he’s healthy) will be tough, but it’s just not enough. The offensive line will be improved, but the running game won’t necessarily be.  The losses will get started next week against N.C. State in Atlanta and will be frequent after that. I think Derek Dooley needs a 7-5 record to save his hide, but I don’t think that will happen. You can thank Da’Rick for that.

UT’s Financial Condition Means More Pressure on Dooley

Looks like the University of Tennessee’s athletic department is bleeding:

The department reported revenues totaling $106,485,376 against expenses of $110,466,652, creating a deficit of 3.98 million. The shortfall, which the department said in a release was “anticipated,” shrank a reserve nest egg of approximately $5.5 million that athletic director Dave Hart has voiced concern over throughout his first year at UT.

“We didn’t know the degree it would be, but we knew all year that we were probably going to have some deficit this year,” said UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek at a two-day board of trustees workshop in Nashville. “We have reorganized the athletics department, we have downsized the department, so those all had some cost savings with them.

“We will continue to look at all operations and see where we can reduce expenditures this year. We’re also going to work as hard as we can to increase revenue this year, and that’s from ticket sales, athletic competitions and donors. At same time need to make critical investments to make sure our programs are moving in a positive direction.”

In case you’re not good with numbers, let me help you:  this ain’t good.

In 2010, Alabama’s football program alone generated revenues of $78 million and the overall athletic department had profits of about $13.9 million.

Tennessee’s athletic department’s financial condition reminds me of the ole U.S.A.  We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.  How in the world did they spend $110 million?

Make no mistake about it, all of this will have an effect on how Derek Dooley’s job performance is viewed this year.  Losing games and wallowing around in mediocrity does not help fill the coffers.

Interesting Bama Connection for Former Vol Great Todd Kelly

Former Tennessee Volunteer Todd Kelly has an interesting Bama connection that could get interesting soon:

Although he hopes to get back into youth coaching, he has stepped away for now to watch his son, Todd Kelly Jr., a junior at Webb School and one of his former youth players. To date, the young Kelly has had more than 20 offers from Division I colleges wanting him to be a strong safety.

Kelly Sr. said he would love for his son, who has a 4.1 GPA, to go to Tennessee, but he wants him to decide on his own.

The recruiting battle is actually a little more complex than one might imagine, even at the Kelly home. The reason is that daughter Clarke made a new all-girls cheerleading squad that began at Alabama last year, and she is wanting her brother to play for the Crimson Tide.

If You’re Gonna Run a 3-4, You Need One of These

Sal Sunseri is installing a 3-4 defense at Tennessee and the first step is trying to find another Mt. Cody:

Junior college transfer Daniel McCullers — dubbed “Shade Tree” or “Green Mile” or any number of other nicknames befitting a man of his size — has climbed the depth chart at nose tackle after the Vols’ first scrimmage…But McCullers, because of his girth, has had to overcome doubts about his conditioning. The 6-foot-7 giant weighed as much as 380 in the spring, but has cut down to the neighborhood of 360. He carries the weight well, and certainly doesn’t look fat. (Not that anyone would suggest otherwise to his face).

If size was the only requirement, they could have found one.