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UT And A.D. Sued For “Unlawful Discrimination”

Normally on this site we don’t dive too deeply into women’s sports.  Heck, we don’t dive into the non-revenue men’s sports, either.  But when a former female employee files an “unlawful discrimination” suit against an SEC school and its athletic director in federal court and it involves a coaching legend, yeah, we’ve gotta mention it.

After serving for more than 35 years as the Tennessee Lady Vols’ main PR person, Debby Jennings was forced out of her position in May.  The University of Tennessee has been working to combine its men’s and women’s athletic departments into one unit for some time… and this spring the axe fell on a number of people, including Jennings.  Today, Jennings got her revenge.

Her lawsuit claims that UT athletic director Dave Hart gave Jennings three options back in May: retire, resign, or be fired for “insubordination.”  The suit consists of 41 pages and 11 exhibits, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.  In it, Jennings requests that Hart and fellow UTAD employees Chris Fuller and Jimmy Stanton undergo “appropriate diversity and ethics training.”

The real kicker — and I suppose it’s included to show that Hart does not like women — is the claim that Hart forced Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt into retirement.  Summitt is suffering from early-onset dementia.  Jennings’ suit claims that Summitt was “very upset and extremely hurt” after being told that she would not coach the team in 2012-13.

For Hart, this could be a PR kick to the teeth in the Volunteer State.  Jennings might as well have claimed Hart voted for Charles Woodson in the 1997 Heisman race or that he stole Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap.  You don’t force out a legend.

At least that’s the spin that’s supposed to come from that bit of information.

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