Hart Addresses Media, Says He Trusts Butch Jones Implicitly

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    Hartpresser

    Approximately 48 hours after 16 varsity head coaches from the University held a joint press conference in the same room to defend the culture at Tennessee without athletic director Dave Hart present, Hart took his turn on Thursday afternoon.

    Hart addressed the gathered media for approximately 40 minutes, opening with a statement and then fielding questions for the remaining time as a small group stood outside in support of the eight plaintiffs, listed as eight “Jane Does” in the lawsuit. The protestors chanted “Vols for Jane” after the conclusion of the press conference.

    Hart emphasized multiple times that he had empathy for the victims of alleged sexual assaults and their families all over the country, and touted how far the athletic department and University as a whole have come in their process of supporting victims of alleged sexual assault.

    “We encourage our student-athletes and students to come forward – to report incidents of sexual assault,” Hart said.

    Like the coaches on Tuesday, Hart didn’t address any specific issues in the pending Title IX lawsuit. That lawsuit was amended on Wednesday to include, among other new allegations, an affidavit from former wide receiver Drae Bowles saying that he was told that he “betrayed the team” for assisting the victim of an alleged rape. But Hart did say that he thought Jones’ statement on Wednesday evening “spoke to” the newest allegations by Bowles.

    Hart went on to say that he trusts Jones “implicitly” and that he was confident that no coaches on campus have violated any protocol.

    Some other points from Hart’s press conference today: