Phone records of several calls made by Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the day of an alleged rape from November 2014 were released Wednesday.
Jones and former Tennessee player Drae Bowles spoke two times on the day of the incident, according to a report from the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s MJ Slaby.
The rape accusation is now part of a sweeping Title IX lawsuit levied against Tennessee, which claims that Jones told Bowles that he betrayed the team by helping the alleged victim in the case against two of Bowles’ teammates.
Jones released a statement about the conversations Wednesday.
“I am very comfortable with everything Drae, Mr. Bowles and I discussed, and I wish him nothing but the very best,” Jones said. “My intent was to support Drae and make sure he was OK. There’s nothing more important to me than the ultimate success in the life of our students.”
According to the report, the phone records also revealed conversations between Jones and Sam Brown, the Knoxville Police Department liaison to the Tennessee football team. Jones also spoke with former player A.J. Johnson — one of two ex-players accused of the rape — Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart and former player Curt Maggitt, who was accused of punching Bowles in a confrontation stemming from Bowles’ assistance of the alleged victim.
“We have as many conversations as needed with players, parents, law enforcement, whomever until we can be sure that we are making the best decision possible,” Jones said in the statement. “These are decisions that can be life-changing for these individuals. After taking into account all the information we could gather in this case, we made the decision to suspend two student athletes from the team immediately.”
Bowles has signed statements in the lawsuit, which includes eight plaintiffs, affirming his statement that he was assaulted by teammates and subsequently yelled at by Jones for giving the accuser a ride.
Johnson and Michael Williams, the second player accused in the rape allegation, were suspended on Nov. 17, 2014. They are charged with aggravated rape and of aiding and abetting aggravated rape, but their criminal trials are on hold.