WBIR-TV in Knoxville is reporting that Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton will resign at 11am ET this morning. Hamilton has been UT’s AD since 2003 and has been in hot water since his hiring of Lane Kiffin went South in January of 2010.
While Hamilton has been a whipping boy in the state of Tennessee and around the nation, his undoing was certainly aided by other men:
* Had Phillip Fulmer not had two losing seasons in four years and Neyland Stadium not seen massive attendance drops, Hamilton would not have had to replace him.
* Had Lane Kiffin not left for his “dream job” at Southern Cal just one year into his Tennessee tenure, Vol fans would be rallying around their coach as he prepared for a date with the NCAA this weekend.
* Had Bruce Pearl not lied to NCAA investigators about a barbecue at his house, Hamilton’s most popular hire would still be on the Vols’ bench.
That, of course, only shapes the situation. It was Hamilton who chose to hire Kiffin and Pearl — as well as recently-fired baseball coach Todd Raleigh. The buck stops at the top.
But now Hamilton is leaving the post and he’s doing so just days before Tennessee meets with the NCAA committee on infractions this Friday. The UT administration dumped Pearl — in part — so the school could tell the NCAA that it had rid itself of the main rulebreaker. It’s possible then that UT’s administration decided axing Hamilton would send a similar message.
Now Tennessee can tell the NCAA that the coaches who did wrong and the man who oversaw them are all gone. “So don’t blame us, ‘kay?”
It will be certainly be interesting to see how the NCAA handles its punishment of UT now that Kiffin, Pearl and Hamilton are all gone.