Ah, the University of Tennessee, where ridiculous happens.
The latest absurdity?
University officials are conducting an investigation to determine whether a former head of student judicial services, Jenny Wright, a graduate of both the undergrad and the law school at Tennessee, had multiple inappropriate relationships with some of the student-athletes she was charged with judging. According to the Twitter account of Knoxville radio host Jimmy Hyams recently departed Vol point guard Trae Golden, whose mysterious dismissal purportedly involved academic issues, is among those players involved in the investigation.
News broke today that Wright had been fired as a result of her failure to cooperate with an independent investigation into whether she had inappropriate relationships with athletes. Wright, who attempted to resign from her position but was fired from her $70,000 a year job instead, has hired an attorney who categorically denied that she had done anything improper.
In the meantime, Tennessee has already removed her name from the Student Judicial Affairs website, listing her position as vacant.
Wright quickly scrubbed her Facebook and Twitter accounts, but she was not able to erase this repository of her Twitter account you can find here.
The account contains fifteen photos and many recent Tweets.
In the bio section of the account Wright described herself thusly, “Three-time alumna and proud employee of the University of Tennessee…All Vol!!!”
She also listed a husband on the account, but reports are that Wright was recently divorced.
Nine months ago Wright Tweeted, “Can’t believe today starts my 13th year on @UTKnoxville campus…9 as a student for 3 degrees & 4 working as staff! Time flies!!!”
This would put her age at around 31.
Many of Wright’s other Tweets are preserved on the page as well, so y’all can dive in and see if there’s anything interesting in there. She appears to be quite the fan of multiple exclamation points.
And she also likes dogs!!!
And sorority sisters!!!!
So what’s Wright’s connection to Trae Golden?
That remains to be seen.
But Golden’s dismissal has seemed odd since news first broke last week.
First, Golden wasn’t given the opportunity to get his academics in order during summer classes. (The number of athletes who would be ineligible without summer classes is often staggering.) This led you to believe it was something other than simply failing a class that got Golden booted from the school. Second, there was no prior suggestion of academic problems for Golden. This dismissal came out of nowhere. Third, word leaked that Golden’s dismissal was out of the athletic department’s control. This led many to surmise that Golden’s departure was related to academic fraud, specifically multiple acts of plagiarism a characterization that Golden’s father disputed as “totally inaccurate” last week.
So what happened?
Because clearly something was going down.
Otherwise why would a huge University of Tennessee fan like Jenny Wright, who’d spent 13 years on campus, suddenly offer her resignation? And why would the university decline to accept that resignation, firing her instead?
If you want to read the tea leaves, it certainly looks like Wright was helping to cover up Golden’s academic fraud and then the university found out about it.
Which led to Golden’s dismissal and subsequent questions about why Wright would help cover up the fraud. When Wright was asked about inappropriate relationships with players, she refused to cooperate and attempted to resign instead.
Does that seem like something an innocent person would do?
So now the larger question for the University of Tennessee is this, was Wright sleeping with multiple players and taking advantage of her position as head of student judicial services to keep those players eligible when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to compete?
That, my friends, is a potentially huge mess.
Welcome to life on Rocky Top.
At times like these, it’s best to turn to song to sum up true life.
“Once there was a girl on rocky top,
Half bear the other half cat.
Wild as a mink, sweet as soda pop,
I still dream about that.”