- Associated Press - Saturday, March 7, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A former vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee in 2013 accused the athletics department of pressuring officials in charge of campus discipline to be lenient on student-athletes.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1A58nKj ) obtained a memo in which former Vice Chancellor for Student Life Tim Rogers outlined his concerns. Among other things, it said that the athletics department, “enabled by way of the Chancellor’s directives and interference,” placed the school’s students and its institutional integrity at peril.

Rogers took his concerns to UT President Joe DiPietro and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek in 2013. The 38-year veteran employee retired shortly afterward, attributing his departure to an “intolerable situation.”

DiPietro told The Tennessean he took Rogers’ allegations seriously but was assured by Cheek and Athletics Director Dave Hart that athletics was not pressuring the Office of Student Judicial Affairs to be lenient on student-athletes.

Cheek told The Tennessean that shortly after he became chancellor in 2010, he began hearing concerns from several vice chancellors about the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. He said that Rogers’ staff was too strict in its discipline of both athletes and non-athletes.

Rogers’ concerns came at a time when, under Cheek, the position of athletics director for the first time was elevated to vice chancellor, giving Hart more power on university-wide issues than previous athletics directors.

In the documents, Rogers said the influence from Hart and the athletics department reached beyond student discipline. To help with recruiting, the athletics department got a housing policy change allowing freshmen to live in Vol Hall. Rogers had opposed to the change, citing concerns about sexual assault allegations there.


Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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