UT was good under Fulmer only when UA-trained David Cutcliff was OC. UT is making progress now that UA-trained AD Dave Hart is captain on Rocky Top. Still, 100%? I'm skeptical that every football player -- especially football players -- made an instant turn-around. Some had done little to nothing since arriving.
Transfers, wash-outs and plain ol’ poor academic performance had left Tennessee staring down the barrel of an NCAA bowl ban if its football team didn’t improve in the classroom. Yesterday, Jones announced that his squad had scored a perfect 1,000 for the spring semester, a score high enough to fend off any sanctions.
“It directly affects recruiting, it affects our football program and it’s something that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. I think it’s probably one of the greatest victories we’ve had in Tennessee football…
This is an issue since Day One that we walked in here as a coaching staff that opponents have used against us in the recruiting process. There’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of effort from individuals behind the scenes that have made this come to fruition. I tell you what, I’m extremely proud.”
Now, the first thing that most of us think when we see a positive story about academics is: “Yeah, right… They were given those grades.” Be honest, that’s what you thought.
But the fact of the matter is if UT wanted to cook the books it could have done so long before NCAA sanctions were thisclose to being dropped on its football program. So kudos to Jones and his staff on this one. From recruiting to academics to signs of improvement on the field, the Vols’ new coach appears to be the first right move made by the folks on Rocky Top in many a year.