Shutdown could hurt UT football

The partial shutdown of Tennessee's state government — caused by a stalemate regarding the state's huge budget deficit — could seriously dampen the UT football program's title hopes this fall.

New UT president John Shumaker is quoted in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel saying that ''about 20 to 30 student-athletes'' in the Vol football program could be ''vulnerable'' if the ongoing shutdown cancels the second session of summer school.

Historically, dozens of UT athletes rely on summer school to catch up academically for the coming school year. Suddenly, that option may not be available.

Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders admits that a ''significant number'' of UT gridders could be affected if the second session of summer school is canceled. He has declined to give a specific number, however.

On a positive note, Vol basketball coach Buzz Peterson says that all of his athletes are currently eligible, even without summer school credits. Ditto for Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt. On the down side, neither Peterson nor Summitt (nor their aides) will be able to scout prospects in the coming weeks unless the partial shutdown is lifted.

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