University of Tennessee Title IX Lawuist Filing: Butch Jones Condemned Player Who Helped a Sexual Assault ComplainantBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
Embedded in a court filing adding two plaintiffs to a Title IX lawsuit against the University of Tennessee was testimony that paints a troubling picture of the school's head football coach, Butch Jones.
The filing, The Tennessean reported, contained an account from Drae Bowles accusing Jones of calling him a "traitor" for trying to help a female student who was victimized by two of his teammates. Bowles, who has since transferred, also stated he is willing to testify for the case.
The Title IX lawsuit alleging UT fostered a "hostile sexual" environment for women who accuse male student-athletes of sex crimes now includes eight unnamed women, or "Jane Does," The Tennessean reported. The women are accusing numerous current and former UT football players, as well as a non-student-athlete and a basketball player who transferred.
According to the filing, Jones told Bowles he "betrayed the team" by offering support to a woman accusing other players of sexually assaulting her. Jones later apologized to him for calling him a "traitor." Bowles also claimed this came after some of his teammates assaulted him for helping the woman, ESPN reported.
"To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question," Jones said in a statement. "During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man's own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed."
Shortly before the complainants' filing, UT asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit's reference to a 20-year-old complaint against Peyton Manning due to a lack of relevance. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue the incident illustrates UT's long-standing preferential treatment of male student-athletes.
"The University has reviewed the amended complaint filed today by the plaintiffs and we continue to stand by our actions. The facts, as opposed to allegations in a complaint, will demonstrate that the University acted properly in the matters at issue," Bill Ramsey, an attorney representing UT told The Tennessean in a statement. "We have continuously worked hard to improve our processes and our procedures to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prevent incidents of assault, to support victims of assault and to pursue justice while ensuring due process for those accused. We will vigorously defend all claims in the amended complaint."