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.
Can FCS Schools Benefit from a 12-Game Schedule? NCAA football's top tier, FBS, and Division I's FCS branch differ in the number of allowable regular-season games. FBS teams play 12, and have since 2006. In FCS, 11 are permitted, with a dozen acceptable in occasional years, depending on how the calendar falls. Two FCS leagues, the Ohio Valley and Southland, are behind legislation that would give FCS members the option of playing 12 regular-season games every year. The so-called "permissive proposal" is scheduled for submission into the 2016-17 NCAA Division I legislative cycle. read more
In-Helmet Communication Coming to College Football? Coaches and administrators might have found common ground with the idea that their sport would benefit from the implementation of headset technology, which would allow communication between a coach and an individual offensive and defensive player during the course of a game. read more
County's Concussion Law Would Mandate Safety Courses The Erie County Legislature is poised to approve a new law that would fine youth sports organizations $100 to $200 if they cannot produce records showing that all of their coaches have taken concussion safety courses either in person, read more
Is the NFL Looking to Make Kickoffs Safer? The NFL is assessing the viability of further rules changes on kickoffs with unprecedented input from the league's special-teams coordinators, who want to save the exciting play from extinction. Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, recently held a conference call with special-teams coordinators from all 32 teams to discuss the kickoff and ways to make it safer, two people with knowledge of the call told USA TODAY Sports. No rules changes would take effect this fall. But the coaches were told to be ready in the unlikely event that the NFL conducted an experiment during part of the 2016 preseason, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the call. read more
Holtz: Eight-Team College Football Playoff Only Fair Lou Holtz retired last season from his college football gig on ESPN, but if he ever were to take part in another mock trial arguing his case opposite "lawyer" Mark May in front of "judge" Chris Fowler, the former Notre Dame coach would advocate for an expansion of the two-year-old College Football Playoff system from four teams to eight. read more
Superintendent Faces Tough Call in Wake of Turf Fight This is not an easy situation we’ve got here in Wichita Falls. It’s ugly. Wichita Falls Independent School District Athletic Director Scot Hafley has been accused of losing self-control with a public tirade. I'm not sure it was as bad as it was portrayed on social media, but the pile-on is pretty easy. read more
History of the Major Sports Drafts The draft is a relatively recent addition to most major sports, allowing teams to choose from the best up-and-coming players in the hopes that the worst teams will have the greatest chance to improve. These are the histories and experiences of the four major professional leagues: NFL Football's draft dates to 1936, after then-Eagles owner Bert Bell argued within the sport for an alternative to the waiver system created in 1934. Bell contended that the league needed a way to ensure competitive balance - that the worst team in the league would have the best chance to improve by selecting the best available college talent. The waiver system favored those teams that could afford to pay top money for players, leaving teams like Bell's Eagles at a disadvantage. read more