The University of Tennessee is no longer pursuing hiring Greg Schiano as its head football coach after protests took the internet by storm today. Schiano is currently the defensive coordinator for Ohio State.
Schiano had reportedly reached an agreement earlier Sunday, but Tennessee officials backed out after the anticipated hiring sparked staunch outrage from Vols fans, according to ESPN’s Chris Low.
The Greg Schiano to Tennessee deal is dead. Following a public outcry among fans and state politicians, Tennessee backed out of a memorandum of understanding with Schiano that had been signed earlier in the day by both parties.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) November 27, 2017
The outrage comes over an allegation of Schiano’s involvement in the Sandusky Scandal, which was included in court documents unsealed in July 2016 from a Penn State settlement lawsuit.
A deposition from Mike McQueary, whose own legal battle with the university is finally over, was included in the documents that were released. He said that in a discussion with then-former linebacker/special teams coach Tom Bradley, Bradley said Schiano came to his office “white as a ghost” in the early 1990s and said that he just saw Sandusky “doing something to the boy in the shower.” McQueary said that was all Bradley ever told him.
A representative for Bradley said in a statement, “At no time did Tom Bradley ever witness any inappropriate behavior. Nor did he have any knowledge of alleged incidents in the 80’s and 90’s. He has consistently testified as such. Any assertions to the contrary are false. When he became aware of the 2001 incident it had already been reported to the University administration years earlier.”
McQueary also stated uncertainty multiple times through the deposition while trying to recall details from encounters with Bradley, saying he “couldn’t remember everything” and “can’t remember every single time [he and Bradley]talked about Sandusky.” There was also no cross-examination of McQueary’s testimony in the court documents.
Schiano issued a response to the McQueary testimony in July 2016, saying “I never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse, during my time at Penn State” according to Adam Schefter.
In response to deposition, Greg Schiano said: “I never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse, during my time at Penn State.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 12, 2016
“Although settlements have been reached, it also is important to reiterate that the alleged knowledge of former Penn State employees is not proven, and should not be treated as such,” Penn State President Eric Barron wrote addressing allegations like that against Schiano in a statement released shortly after the documents.
Despite this, national media and, more notably, Tennessee fans on Twitter, beg to differ.
For starters, a fan painted “Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State” on what’s famously called “the rock” on Tennessee’s campus.
The Rock on UT's campus. pic.twitter.com/aG3BXrkKOW
— Louis Fernandez Jr (@LouisWBIR) November 26, 2017
Trip Underwood, who painted the Rock, says UT leadership needs to take a long look in the mirror after today. pic.twitter.com/wmvhPh3M84
— Louis Fernandez Jr (@LouisWBIR) November 27, 2017
Other Vols fans quickly unloaded on Twitter.
I’ve never been more amazed by the pure unity this Tennessee fanbase showed today.
Some things are just bigger than sports. Regardless of Schiano’s potential, there must be a line drawn.
Today, THE PEOPLE spoke & THE PEOPLE were heard, loud and clear.
I love y’all. Go Vols.
— Drunk Vol Fan (@DrunkVolFan) November 27, 2017
Shame on national media. People aren’t opposed to Schiano because he has a poor record on the field and has a bad rep with former players.
This is bigger than football, and the possibility of him covering up a child rape is just too much. Sorry, not sorry.
— Houston Kress (@VolRumorMill) November 26, 2017
Fans apparently also protested in person, calling for the head (read: job) of Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie. You can hear in the video below chants of “Fire Currie” as they march.
Volunteers fans marching to the university athletic center to protest UT's possible decision to hire Greg Schiano as its new head football coach pic.twitter.com/pyq1qhYjn5
— Donovan Long (@WVLTDonovan) November 26, 2017
Even White House Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders got in on the fun this time.
So here we are. Because of offhand allegations that aren’t mentioned anywhere else through countless depositions and testimony from the legal fallout of the Sandusky Scandal, it looks Greg Schiano won’t be a Vol after all.
“The Sandusky thing”
Ruining people’s reputation on one sentence in a deposition, relayed third-hand, that never was investigated. Seems smart. https://t.co/gsqiPZ6EuY
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 26, 2017
This about sums it up:
What transpired with Greg Schiano in Tennessee today is a frightening statement about where we are in society right now regarding what is real, what is speculative and that the our reality is that if you yell loud enough there is no difference between the two.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 27, 2017