Tennessee Withdraws Coaching Offer Amid Protests Claiming Coach 'Covered Up Child Rape At Penn State'

Despite coach's denial of claim, Tennessee withdraws offer to "Schia-NO."

According to ESPN, the University of Tennessee had signed a memorandum of understanding with Greg Schiano to be its next football head coach but rescinded the offer on Sunday amid protests that "Schia-NO" had "covered up child rape at Penn State" — an accusation the coach adamantly denies.

The ugly situation traces back to the heinous actions of Penn State's former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse against young boys he met through his children's charity, The Second Mile. The revelations of Sandusky's serial rape of children over a 15-year period ended the storied, decades-long career of head coach Joe Paterno, who died of lung cancer two months after he was fired by the university.

During a deposition for the case which was released last year, former Penn State football assistant Mike McQueary said that assistant coach Tom Bradley told him that Schiano, who was an assistant coach at Penn State at the time, approached him in the early 1990s, "white as a ghost" and told Bradley that "he just saw Jerry doing something to a boy in the shower.'"

Schiano, who is currently the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, denies the claim. Bradley, the defensive coordinator at UCLA this season, also denies McQueary's account.

Nonetheless, amid strong backlash over reports that the university was poised to hire him as their new head coach, Tennessee reportedly reversed its decision to hire Schiano to replace the recently fired Butch Jones. ESPN reports that sources say the Volunteers "backed out of a memorandum of understanding" with Schiano "signed by both parties" that he would be the team's new head coach.

"About 100 people gathered on Tennessee's campus to protest a potential Schiano hire, with many of them holding signs with various messages such as 'Schia-NO,'" ESPN reports. "At a rock on campus where students often paint various messages, the words 'Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State' appeared Sunday."

Some political voices also weighed in, including four Republican Tennessee gubernatorial candidates and State Rep. Jeremy Faison, who said a man facing "that type of potential reproach" could not be "the face of our state."

ESPN notes that Tampa Bay's former general manager, Mark Dominik, defended Schiano, whom he hired back during his tenure. "We spent hours & hours interviewing & background checks on Greg Schiano. Yes we didn’t win. Fact-he’s honest, awesome father/husband, & an excellent football coach. This shouldn’t be whether YOU think you like him or not, you don’t even know him.#Meyer #Belichick ask them," tweeted Dominik.

Read the full passage from McQueary's deposition statement here.

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