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.
Board Penalizes High School for Practice Violations Wheeling Central's football program was hit with penalties by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Wednesday for practice violations earlier this month. The SSAC Board of Directors suspended veteran head coach Mike Young for both his team's preseason scrimmages (a penalty already served), placed his entire coaching staff on probation for one year and took away four of the Maroon Knights' six allotted "flex" days next summer, which are used for out-of-season coaching. read more
Dusty Baker Dislikes MLB Replay Baseball's replay system has a glaring loophole: There is no formal time limit to request a challenge. Without a deadline to worry about, teams nearly always stall until someone in the clubhouse with access to a television relays whether to challenge the play or not to the manager. read more
MLB Considering Changes to Boost Offense, Pace Major League Baseball, alarmed by the game's lack of action this season, is considering making the most radical changes to the game in more than a century. Commissioner Rob Manfred said baseball is contemplating everything from altering the strike zone to limiting the number of pitching changes in a game, to curtailing the number of shifts, to even installing 20-second time clocks for pitchers. If these changes are implemented, it would lead to perhaps the most radical rule changes since 1889, when baseball reduced the number of balls to constitute a walk to four. Certainly, it would have more impact than the American League instituting the designated hitter in 1973. read more
New Preseason Football Practice Guidelines Considered Double sessions of preseason practice have represented a rite of passage for generations of high school football players. Two-a-days are underway this week at many Maine schools under strict guidelines regulating the length of practice sessions, protective equipment used, amount of contact allowed, and recovery time -- all designed to help players cope with the mid-August heat. "The biggest concern with preseason is acclimatization, acclimatization not only to the heat but also re-acclimatization to the sport," said Chris Sementelli, program manager for MaineGeneral Sports Medicine in Augusta and a liaison to the Maine Principals' Association sports medicine committee. While double sessions remain the norm at many high schools, some programs have veered away from the tradition for reasons that have less to do with Mother Nature and more to do with changing demographics and competing demands. read more
HS Under Investigation for Possible Practice Violations The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission is looking into possible football practice violations by Class A power Wheeling Central. The possible violations in question involve players wearing pads during the first week of practice, which began Aug. 1 for high schools in West Virginia. read more