Butch Jones Speaks On UT Sex Assault Settlement

Posted at 9:46 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 23:25:27-04

Head Coach Butch Jones spoke on the University of Tennessee's settlement of a $2.48 million lawsuit during SEC Media Days.

Jones has been charged with getting the University of Tennessee football team ready for a highly-anticipated season.

"That's kind of been our theme control the controllable," he said Tuesday.

But during the press conference he talked about a situation where for months he didn't have much control at all:
the lawsuit filed by eight women. Six of them say they were raped as a direct result of the football team's indifference toward sexual assault.

"These are very very serious issues that surround every campus that surround society to day," Jones said when asked about the lawsuit by a reporter.

For the settlement UT will pay the women and their attorneys $2.48 million dollars but will not admit any guilt or negligence.

"We've brought in 70 plus speakers," Jones said, "we've been very proactive about that your'e talking to someone who was brought up in a law enforcement household so I understand the importance of that."

In February, shortly after the lawsuit was filed, 16 head coaches publicly stood by the athletics department and its safety.

President Joe DiPietro has since planned to appoint an independent commission to review the school's Title IX investigations which came under fire for allegedly protecting the athletes and re-victimizing the victims.

"We don't look at it as something of the past or something that's been settled. Everything is a teaching opportunity," Jones said of the suit.

It's a settlement that's undoubtedly been on the mind of folks at UT for almost six months, and it was reached just as the team prepares for its next football season.

The lawsuit also claimed Coach Butch Jones called a player a traitor for helping a woman raped by his teammates. That player later transferred, saying he was beat up for the same reason by other teammates and that the coaches knew and did nothing.

Jones called the allegations a false attack on his character.