The Sports Animal has learned that Jenny Wright, director of the office of student judicial affairs, has been terminated for failure to cooperate with a UT investigation into whether she had inappropriate relations with student-athletes. One of those athletes, we’re told by sources, is former UT basketball player Trae Golden.
The Sports Animal has obtained documents via the FOI act stating that she was fired today just before 9:30 am. Wright, who had worked at UT since 2001, was fired by Susan Martin, provost and senior vice chancellor, rather than by her immediate supervisor, Tim Rogers, vice chancellor for student life human resources, who oversees the office of student judicial affairs. A meeting was scheduled at 9 am today with Martin. Wright’s attorney, Robert Kurtz, said in a letter that his client respectfully declined the invitation to appear the meeting with Martin.
Wright offered to resign May 9, according to documents, but UT did not accept her resignation due to the ongoing investigation. When she failed to cooperate with the investigation, being conducted by outside attorney Beecher Bartlett, then failed to appear at the meeting, she was fired.
Wright was given the right to request an administrative review of the action by May 28 to UT’s Human Resources.
A letter from UT assistant general counsel Matthew Scoggins was sent to Wright on May 10 saying that based on her refusal to cooperate in the investigation into allegations regarding her actions, UT has reason to believe that grounds exist to terminate her employment for unsatisfactory work-related behavior.
Efforts to reach Beecher Bartlett and Wright’s attorney, Robert Kurtz, were unsuccessful.
What we don’t know when or why the investigation began or how many student-athletes, other than Golden, might be involved.
·Said that the scholarship situation will ``work itself out.’’ UT is one over the limit with the recent commitment of point guard Darius Thompson. UT will have to release a player, make a player a walkon, or not take signee Travon Landry, who averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 assists at a prep school.
·In spite of the numbers’ crunch, Martin said ``I wouldn’t say we’re done.’’ Tennessee is combing the junior college ranks for a big man.
·Asked if he’s confident that forward Jeronne Maymon, who missed last season with a knee injury, will be 100% this season, Martin said ``yes – no doubt in my mind.’’ Martin said he thinks Maymon and Jarnell Stokes can be like Ole Miss’ inside duo of Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway.
·Martin said UT must improve it’s point guard play to achieve its goals next season.
·Martin said one reason Syracuse’s zone is so effective is the length and athleticism of the players and how aggressive the Orange is in attacking shooters. He also said he was impressed with Louisville’s press and might incorporate more pressure if his personnel allows.
·Martin said he’s happy with his contract and will not pursue an extension or a raise. He said he’s unsure where those comments came from, but his agent was not the source.
·Martin admitted he didn’t think Wichita State was a Final Four caliber team when the Vols beat the Shockers in Knoxville in December.
·Martin said he will know in about a week what the NBA advisory board says about the draft stock of Stokes and Jordan McRae.
·Martin said Josh Richardson didn’t deserve to be on the SEC All-Defense team, but that Richardson has improved and has ``one of the best pullup games in the country’’ and needs to improve as a 3-point shooter. ``We expect him to be a great player.’’
·Martin also said freshman Armani Moore has a chance to be a great player. He said Moore is very athletic but must improve his shot.
·Martin said he might play Division II teams in the future if the NCAA RPI formula continues to not count Division II games in the formula. He said whatever the rules ``just be consistent.’’ The Mountain West enhanced its RPI by playing Division II schools rather than low RPI Division I teams.
Tony Barnhart of CBS had this to say on Sports Talk Wednesday:
John McClain of Houston Chronicle said on SportsTalk he thinks 2 QBs will be first-round picks -- Geno Smith and Matt Barkley. He said he wouldn't take a RB in the first round, and he added that only 5 skill players have the talent to be taken in the first round. McClain said he would put Denver, New England, Green Bay and Atlanta as his 4 favorites to make the Super Bowl. He also thinks Kansas City will trade down and not take CB Dee Milliner with the first overall pick in the draft
Today on SportsTalk, we will interview Tony Barnhart of CBS about the SEC as spring practice has started for several schools. We will also talk NFL with John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. And, at 6:30, we will interview former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, who just completed his third season at USC.
By Jimmy Hyams
Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has signed with Los Angeles-based sports agent Don Yee, confirmed Jeff Bray, Tyler’s dad.
The father said recently that Tyler signed on Jan. 1, effectively ending his college career.
Jeff Bray said the family had four to five in-person interviews before selecting Yee, who represents, among others, New England quarterback Tom Brady.
``It reminded me a lot of the recruiting process for college,’’ Jeff Bray said, ``just a little bit more intense, because now we’re not just talking about a scholarship, but we’re talking about his future and the rest of his life.’’
Jeff Bray said Yee – who was recommended by a family friend – seemed to be a good ``fit’’ and the fact Brady is one of Yee’s clients helped.
``Tom Brady is an incredible quarterback and any time you associate yourself with someone and you create that success, it helps you out,’’ Jeff Brady said.
Tyler Bray had two elite wide receivers at Tennessee in Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. The fact both have declared for the NFL draft ``absolutely’’ influenced Tyler, Jeff Bray said.
Jeff Bray said there were other variables.
``The new coach, what kind of system (he’d run) and who was staying,’’ Jeff Bray said.
Asked if Tyler didn’t think he fit UT coach Butch Jones’ system, Jeff Bray said: ``I don’t know if it was he didn’t fit coach Jones’ system. Moreso, he (would be) learning a new system.
‘’If (former UT offensive coordinator) Jim Chaney had stayed, it probably would have made a world of difference. Tyler loves Tennessee. He loved the time he was there. It was a hard decision for him to make.’’
Jeff Bray said he’s seen NFL draft projections of Tyler going as early as the first round and as late as the fourth round.
Why the wide range?
``I really don’t know,’’ Jeff Bray said. ``This is all new to me. He’s a very unique individual. I think he’s the best quarterback in the draft, but I’m his father.
``I think once the (NFL) coaches and general mangers sit down with Tyler and meet with him in person, it will open their eyes to what kind of individual he is.’’
Jeff Bray said Tyler filled out application for NFL advisory board review but hasn’t heard back.
The father said the son developed a great deal as a quarterback at Tennessee.
``I think he has an incredible understanding of defenses and schemes,’’ Jeff Bray said. ``He studies an incredible amount. He and Jim Chaney have a great relationship and he has raised some great quarterbacks. And he’s taught Tyler things about being a quarterback – the physical and mental aspects. I’ve seen him grow as a vocal leader.’’
Ironically, Jeff Bray didn’t want Tyler to play college football. Jeff wanted his son – a 6-foot-6 point guard – to play college basketball or baseball. Jeff, who coached Tyler in basketball, said Tyler can shoot ``lights out’’ and has a 90-plus mph fastball with a curve and knuckleball.
Jeff Bray said Tyler joked about joining the Vols basketball team and a UT baseball coach once talked to Tyler about joining the team as a closer.
Jeff Bray said Tyler gets his athletic ability from a distant relative – Jim Thorpe. Thorpe was Native American. So is Jeff Bray. Jeff’s wife is Norwegian.
Since Jan. 1, Tyler Bray has been working out at Athletes Performance in Carson City, Calif.