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.
Coaches Differ on Idea of Eliminating Kickoffs The Ivy League announced last week that it will move kickoffs from the 35-yard line to the 40-yard line in conference games this season in an effort to enhance player safety. A study conducted by the league revealed that kickoff returns account for 23.4 percent of concussions in games, despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays. read more
Opinion: NFL Should Update Medical Marijuana Stance Half of the states have legalized medical marijuana. Some players are using a cannabis extract that experts say aids in physical recovery and might counteract the effects of concussions. read more
Josh Gordon Reinstated by NFL Josh Gordon's curious and complicated career has taken a new turn. He's getting yet another chance. The talented but troubled wide receiver has been reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who met face to face with Gordon last week and said he believes the 25-year-old can "make the right choices" going forward. Gordon has been banned since February 2015 for multiple violations of the league's drug policies. He will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016-17 season, but he's allowed to join the team in its upcoming training camp and can participate in meetings and conditioning work. The league said once Gordon meets clinical requirements, he can take part in preseason activities, including practices and games. read more
Rio Olympics May Feature First Openly Trans Athletes The International Olympic Committee held a meeting in May about transgender issues in which members of an international sports federation said two closeted transgender athletes who competed in their sport were considering coming out publicly before the Games this summer, according to two people who attended the meeting and spoke to USA TODAY Sports. read more
Top NCAA Tourney Seed to Choose Opening-Round Site
Beginning this upcoming season, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA basketball tournament will be able to choose the location of its first- and second-round games, giving the top seed an even greater competitive advantage.read more
Pac-12 Officials to Review Targeting via Replay Replay officials in the Pac-12 will see greater authority this fall. Among the rule changes detailed Friday at the conference's media days was one that allows the replay booth to review a potential targeting penalty that was missed by officials on the field. read more
Anti-Doping Leaders Call for Russian Ban from Olympics A letter drafted by U.S. and Canadian anti-doping leaders urging Russia's removal from the upcoming Olympics is circulating days before the public release of a report expected to detail a state-sponsored doping system that corrupted the country's entire sports program. read more