Vols Loaded With Money, Short on Character

Phillip Fulmer where have you gone? The former Tennessee football coach has been as classy since getting dumped by the Vols as he was when he coached the team, but the program he once proudly ran is just getting more and more embarrassing.

Tennessee spent a fortune to hire Monty Kiffin, Ed Orgeron as host over overpriced assistant coaches to join Lane Kiffin in 2009. How'd that turn out? Kiffin made the Vols regret hiring him almost from the beginning and then bailed after one season. Tennessee then went out and hired Derek Dooley to try and clean up after Kiffin.

Now, the Vols are shelling out $750,000 to get out of a two-game series with North Carolina that was to begin next season. It appears the boys from Rocky Top think the No. 4 team in the ACC Coastal Division just makes the 2011 slate too difficult. Athletic director Mike Hamilton tried to put a happy face on the bailout when he spoke to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"It's been verbal communication to this point and in these situations there still has to be formality to any contract, and so we've let Carolina know that we're going to go a different direction since they were not able to move the game and the series to a later date in the decade," Hamilton said. "Personally, it's kind of a downer for me because I was looking forward to playing Carolina as a North Carolina native, but without the ability to move it later in the decade, we felt like we needed to break that six-game stretch up and put a non-BCS team in there.

"We'll buy out of the series and do that and move ahead."

I can understand wanting to help his new coach start posting successful seasons as soon as possible, but how is running scared of a team that rarely gets ranked going to boost Tennessee back into contention in the SEC? Additionally, the Vols have historically recruited the state of North Carolina in a very big way. This move has to hurt their image and reputation in that state.

Tennessee was an elite program for a number of years, but it looks like it is more interested in meaningless wins than truly trying to return to the SEC and nation's elite. Trading a home and home with North Carolina in order to host Buffalo next year and probably some directional school in 2012 might mean an extra win or two, but it also means the Vols will be viewed as a second tier program at best.

Fightin Gators Top Stories