I will make a statement; answer some questions I'm sure you share, take your questions, then I want to talk about our football team.
I am a football coach and not an attorney but will try to explain where I stand on some of the issues.
It's very important to understand that a lot of people believe the entire NCAA enforcement process is at stake. If we have no enforcement process, all we have is chaos - much like a country with no army or a city with no police.
It is well documented all that the University of Alabama has been through. It is not necessarily all their fault. We all fear uncontrolled boosters getting involved in our programs. There were good people trying to control it, but a few rogue boosters that took it on themselves to get involved in the recruiting process caused this problem.
That brought on the investigation. Two coaches have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges. Several boosters have been disassociated from the university. A federal grand jury indicted a man for racketeering. Coaches lost their jobs.
Alabama accepted responsibility and are trying to move on. Some people do not want to move on.
To blame me or any of the numerous coaches that told the NCAA about what they knew or heard about the cheating is wrong. All of us have an obligation and responsibility to our universities to run a clean program. If we hear a rumor, we report it. It's the NCAA's job to prove it or disprove it.
We now have a small group of radical attorneys, who on their own have undertaken their own agenda to smear the NCAA and any one else they can along the way. These irresponsible people have alleged that there was a conspiracy between the Justice Department of the United States, the FBI, the NCAA, the University of Tennessee, and me. These kinds of statements are absurd. These are the same people who sued two sitting Alabama governors.
University Presidents shaped the NCAA as our governing body some 100 years ago and we all participate voluntarily. In my 30 years of coaching, the people I have met from the NCAA seem to be bright and honorable people. I do not agree with everything they do, but they are our governing body and most of the rules we have has come from abuse and intended for the good of the whole body of members.
Many coaches knew or suspected there was cheating going on and had challenged the suspect coaches to get it stopped. It was even addressed with all 12 SEC coaches in the same room at the SEC spring meeting a few years ago. It had been addressed long before the hammer finally fell.
I strongly believe that this effort by an isolated group of irresponsible attorneys to somehow glorify or excuse illegal conduct at the expense of college football is hypocritical on their part.
A lot of you have had the same questions, so I'd like to address the questions I've heard, take your questions and then talk football.
Everyone wants to know why I'm not in Birmingham. Again, I'm not an attorney, but I will do my best to explain it. I am a defendant, along with the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association - which in my opinion is pretty good company - in a frivolous lawsuit in Tuscaloosa.
This could have been over weeks ago. Our motion to dismiss was continued several weeks ago to next Monday by the rogue lawyers and the timing of that is no coincidence.
On the recommendation of my attorneys and those of the NCAA, AFCA and our university's general counsel. I am not going to fuel that lawsuit.
I've heard it asked, 'Why not give a deposition and tell the truth?' That is actually two questions. First, through this entire affair, I have told the truth and will continue to tell the truth. Second, telling the truth is much different than agreeing to be a stage prop for a lawsuit that is for show.
They have proven they are not interested in the truth. They only showboat and grandstand. They make wild charges - incredible exaggerations and tell half-truths to try and make their case.
I do not want this extended any longer. I do not want to go back and forth during the season at the whim of a lawyer. I have a duty and responsibility to my players and my university and all the fans and boosters that support it. I am going to fulfill my duties as the Tennessee coach and let the lawyers do their jobs.
As for the attack, I plan to fight every step of the way and give nothing. I am in this, not by my own doing, unless you count doing what was right when asked by our governing body.
A couple of you called me a coward. I was disappointed to see that. You can talk about my coaching if we lose. You can talk about my play calling in games. You might talk about my physique if you chose to stoop that low, but coward is way over the line.
The same people that used the space to call me a coward have used that same space to talk about cleaning up the SEC from cheating.
I asked for this teleconference and have no problem meeting anyone, anywhere to talk about whatever - except when radical lawyers are trying to generate attention for themselves at the expense of a great city, a great conference and two great universities.
I greatly appreciate our coaches' support. I understand some reluctance in some cases to get involved in this mess. I especially appreciate Houston Nutt and his comments. Most of the coaches have talked to me privately, and I appreciate their support.
I'm trying to be as forthcoming as possible. I'll take time for a few questions, and then let's get on to talking about the team.