We don’t have to try to oversimplify this situation.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano won’t be the head coach at Tennessee after an instant outcry by Vols supporters.
A lot of people have tried to boil this all down to one thing, a grand unified theory of what went wrong here. It’s probably better to treat it as a few different things that are all true at the same time.
1. There is no solid evidence that Schiano covered up crime at Penn State.
The allegation came from a former Penn State assistant, Mike McQueary, who became a coach at the school almost a decade after Schiano left and who said he heard another coach, Tom Bradley, say Schiano claimed to have seen abuse. McQueary was under oath at the time, though if you take his word as fact, you only advance to the question of whether Bradley was telling the truth. The allegation wasn’t pursued, and Bradley and Schiano denied it.
2. It is entirely reasonable to not want someone accused of covering up a scandal to be the face of your university.
A job interview isn’t a trial. Any accusation under oath is certainly legit cause for concern.
If you don’t want to hire someone because you don’t want a voice in the back of your mind for the next four years, always wondering whether he really did know about Jerry Sandusky, you don’t have to hire him. If you don’t want players and recruits hearing stories about what your coach allegedly did in the 1990s, you’re under no obligation.
3. Some Tennessee fans didn’t want Schiano simply because of his work as a coach.
A lot to work with there!
He built Rutgers into something good, which remains an achievement, but finished one game over .500 after 11 years. His best season as a college coach was 11 years ago. His NFL flop included the MRSA debacle. He just gave up 55 points to Iowa. His Bucs hated him. Speaking of accusations, he was accused of leaking a player’s drug test results to the media. He has limited Southeastern experience, north of Miami at least. He had players dive at knees during kneeldowns.
And his demeanor is that of a more self-confident* Butch Jones, the guy who just set up the worst season in Tennessee history.
* Probably not even a good thing, in this case.
4. Some Tennessee fans were honestly appalled by the Penn State allegation.
5. Some Tennessee fans cynically seized on the allegation as a way of getting rid of a coach they didn’t want.
I know Tennessee fans who were upset by Peyton Manning allegedly harassing and then defaming a woman, by the events (which included the football program) that led to the school’s recent $2.48 million Title IX settlement, and by the attempted Schiano hire.
I also know Tennessee fans who were only upset by the last part.
Speaking generally, it is scary that a secondhand hearsay allegation can be publicly treated as rock-solid fact, rather than as a red flag, a major concern, or a simple disqualifier.
6. Tennessee AD John Currie is pretty bad at this!
This wasn’t even his first botched hiring to be reported in 2017.
7. But he still might stumble into a quality hire!
There are actual good coaches who still might dare to take the job!
8. Some national college football media members were slow to realize what was happening and made themselves look out of touch at best.
They talked down to all Tennessee fans, treated the whole thing like a big joke, and assumed this was all simply about missing out on Jon Gruden. It was about a lot.
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