The past 24 hours have been an emotional roller-coaster ride for fans of Tennessee. First came the distressing news that legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. Then word leaked out that popular former men’s coach Bruce Pearl would be hit with a multi-year show cause ban by the NCAA. Things began to turn for the better when sources revealed that the school itself would be spared further penalties by that same NCAA. At least Vol fans got a dose of good news before bed.
But there’s been yet another downturn this morning. Oft-troubled Vol safety Janzen Jackson has been dismissed from Tennessee’s football team.
“Our program has devoted a tremendous amount of energy, resources, support, and care in an effort to help Janzen manage his personal challenges,” said Derek Dooley this morning. “I will always be there to help him as a person, but there comes a time when a player’s actions preclude him from the privilege of playing for the University of Tennessee football team.
“Although I’m disappointed with this outcome, we will never compromise the long-term organizational values and goals we maintain here at Tennessee.”
Jackson — a Louisiana-native who Lane Kiffin swiped from LSU at the last minute in February 2009 — has had a string of troubles since arriving in Knoxville. Though charges were later dropped, he was in a car with two teammates when they allegedly attempted to rob a group of people outside a convenience store in November of ’09.
Sources close to UT’s program say that he had also found himself in hot water for curfew violations, marijuana issues, and even stealing clothes and apparel from fellow students.
Leading up to last December’s Music City Bowl, Jackson was allowed to go home to Louisiana. After skipping almost all of the team’s bowl preps, he was welcomed back and allowed to play in the game. Sources have said the fact Jackson was given all of his bowl gifts ruffled feathers with some on the team who had been on-hand for all of the team’s practices.
After the bowl, Jackson withdrew from school and once again headed home to Louisiana. He returned in time for preseason camp and was once again welcomed back onto Dooley’s team.
Would Dooley have been so patient with a troubled walk-on? We’re guessing no.
But it matters not at this point. Jackson — a second-team All-SEC pick by league coaches last year — has now finished his UT career with six interceptions and 106 tackles in 23 games played.
No specific reason was given for his dismissal.