Tennessee coaches unite to defend school’s rep

Tennessee’s head coaches held a rare joint press conference Tuesday to say an unfair picture of the athletic department is being portrayed, two weeks after the school was sued over its handling of sexual assault complaints made against athletes.

“We don’t want the stereotype that there’s something out there that’s not true,” said Rick Barnes, the men’s basketball coach.

The federal suit filed Feb. 9 in Nashville by six unidentified women states Tennessee violated Title IX regulations and created a “hostile sexual environment” through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes. The suit also states the university interfered with the disciplinary process to favor male athletes.

Coaches defended the university, but declined to address the lawsuit.

“The culture here right now is the best it’s ever been. … The image that’s being displayed of our culture is unfair,” softball co-coach Karen Weekly said.

Tennessee’s 16 head coaches said they decided on their own to hold a news conference.


QATAR OPEN: Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber made a disappointing return to tournament tennis, losing 7-5, 6-1 to China’s Zheng Saisai in the second round.

DAVIS CUP: John Isner, Jack Sock and the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, will represent the United States against Australia in the first round of the Davis Cup on March 4-6.

DUBAI TOURNAMENT: Second-seeded Stan Wawrinka beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round.


AHL: The Portland Pirates recalled forward Steven Hodges from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL.

Hodges has a goal and two assists in five games with the Monarchs since Feb. 12 when he was reassigned from Portland.


DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY: U.S. Soccer is launching a Girls’ Development Academy program next year aimed at the cultivation of elite-level players.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Two goals from Lionel Messi steered Barcelona to a convincing 2-0 victory over Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League.

U.S. WOMEN: The World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team will face Colombia on April 10 at Talen Energy Stadium outside of Philadelphia.


KENYA: The World Anti-Doping Agency says Kenya has until April 5 to fall in line with global anti-doping rules.

WADA says draft regulations submitted recently by Kenya’s new anti-doping agency do not comply with its code.

Kenya already missed one deadline this month to pass anti-doping legislation and provide funding to the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.

The country will now be assessed by WADA’s independent compliance review committee on April 5. That committee will make a recommendation to WADA’s board at its meeting on May 12.

If Kenya is declared non-compliant, its track and field athletes could be banned from competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


INDYCAR SERIES: Alexander Rossi is joining the IndyCar Series after leaving Formula One.

Michael Andretti announced that the 24-year-old American would drive the No. 98 car for Andretti Autosport.

– From staff and news services