Several Tennessee coaches said they haven’t faced questions about the Vols’ tarnished image while recruiting. Coach Butch Jones was not one of the them.
Jones said the recent run of bad publicity has had an effect. The Vols are facing a Title IX lawsuit that was filed by six unidentified women against the university alleging that Tennessee has created a “hostile sexual environment”. Since the suit became public, Tennessee’s football team has had two former players and a current player arrested on serious charges.
“Our competitors are using it against us,” Jones said during a press conference Tuesday, involving all 16 head coaches at Tennessee. “That’s why we’re having a number of unofficial visitors.”
The Vols hosted over 20 visitors on Saturday for their junior day. They’ll also hold a recruiting event on March 5 that is expected to be well attended.
“This past weekend was a great, great weekend for us,” Jones said. “We encouraged parents and prospective student-athletes to stay the night, to get around campus, to walk the sidewalks and see how you feel.”
Jones said the response from prospects and their families was very positive after the visit.
“It was very, very overwhelming,” he said. “We have great people here. They feel the camaraderie. They feel the passion. They feel the energy and the excitement.”