The University of Tennessee has placed on administrative leave Gary Sousa, director of the school's Pride of the Southland marching band since 1997, citing "insubordination, misrepresentation of facts, and a lack of confidence in Sousa's ability to work constructively and collaboratively with others going forward." The announcement came Monday after Sousa, band members and alumni spoke out last week over concerns that band traditions were being threatened by the athletic department. Complaints centered on the band's reduced playing time, travel and budget. In a letter to Sousa, who reportedly earns $152,000 annually, UT provost Susan Martin noted, "Competition for resources and conflict between competing interests within the university are normal. Your actions to circumvent the normal methods of conflict resolution are shockingly insubordinate." Don Ryder, a 14-year veteran of the UT music department, will serve as interim band director for the rest of the fall semester. "We fully support the Pride of the Southland Band. We want every student musician to have a great experience and enjoy being part of a wonderful and cherished tradition," UT chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said in a university release. "The Pride has a 144-year esteemed history with our university. It is never about just one person. We must stand together and work together to create the very best game day experience for all."
- by Paul Steinbach
- October 2013
Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.
HS Football Booster Club's Gun Giveaway Shot Down A high school football booster club was planning to give away a handgun as a prize at a poker tournament before the school’s administration pulled the plug. The Ventura High School football booster club received a certificate for a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol as a donation from a local gun shop for an upcoming fundraising event. The booster club promoted the Oct. 23 event at the Social Tap restaurant and bar in Ventura through a flier posted on its Facebook page, reading: “Great Prizes!!! Including a Smith and Wesson 9mm Handgun,” while noting the winner had to pass a background check and handgun safety certification. read more
NJ Legislation Seeks to End High School "Redshirting"
New Jersey State Sen. Richard Codey plans to introduce a bill that would penalize athletes who repeat a grade in middle school in order to get an athletic advantage in high school.read more
Opinion: After Scandal, UNC Needs Sweeping Changes I bristled when reading the words of UNC Provost Jim Dean ("UNC Provost: "Progress" seen on paper-classes scandal," Oct. 1). When referring to UNC's athletic/academic scandal, the provost said "not everyone really seems to want to get past it." read more
Georgia Football's Title Drought Tied to 'Tighter Ship' Draw a 350-mile circle around this idyllic college town, and within it you'll find seven college football programs that have won a combined 14 national titles since the last time the Georgia Bulldogs reached the pinnacle in 1980. Florida and Florida State have done it with two different head coaches. Clemson and Auburn have had turns at the top, the latter winning with a quarterback who grew up in Georgia's backyard. Tennessee's championship in 1998 was the culmination of a decade-long domination over Georgia, and Alabama has become college football's pre-eminent program over the last decade, directly denying the Bulldogs a chance at the 2012 Bowl Championship Series title game. Even Georgia Tech, with far fewer resources and a significantly smaller fan base, has a shared title as recently as 1990. read more
Tennessee: No Guns at School Events, Even Private Property People can’t bring guns to a church, religious entity or private school if that property is being used for a school event, according to a new opinion from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. read more