Danny Parker

Settlement Reached in University of Tennessee-Knoxville Sexual Assault Lawsuit

The lawsuit shed light on the university's responses to sexual assault allegations perpetrated by student-athletes.

The lawsuit brought by eight women who alleged they had be sexually assaulted by Tennessee athletes has reached a settlement of $2.48 million. The women believed the university fostered an environment that allowed student-athletes to escape from perpetrating sexual assault virtually unscathed.

As apart of the settlement, the plaintiffs must withdraw their two complaints filed against Tennessee with the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. It’s unclear whether this releases the school from potential Title IX violations.

Football head coach Butch Jones, athletic director Dave Hart, and other athletic department employees will not have to participate in depositions, but the settlement doesn’t establish an admission of “guilt, negligence, or unlawful acts” committed by the university.  

The lawsuit shed light on Jones reportedly calling former Tennessee wide receiver Drae Bowles a “traitor” after allegedly helping a sexual assault victim. Jones denied this ever occurred.

To prevent future sexual assaults from occurring on campus, the university will also form a committee whose primary focus is reviewing university responses to sexual assaults, and will expand their Title IX office.

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