REPORTS: Tennessee Backs Out Of Schiano Deal Amid Protests

(CNN)–The University of Tennessee has reportedly decided against hiring Greg Schiano as its next football coach after the potential move was met with a number of protests regarding the Ohio State defensive coordinator.

Brent Hubbs, Austin Price, Jesse Simonton and Rob Lewis of VolQuest.com reported the news after a Sunday report from ESPN.com noted the school was “deluged with protests” over the possible move, “with people citing his alleged connection to the Jerry Sandusky era at Penn State.”

Schiano has been the defensive coordinator at Ohio State for the last two seasons and served as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers earlier in his career.

The ESPN report noted Schiano was an assistant on former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s staff and “denied allegations of [his] knowledge of child abuse by Sandusky from a 2015 deposition by ex-Penn State assistant Mike McQueary.”

This comes after Dan Wolken of USA Today reported earlier on Sunday that Schiano was “the focus of Tennessee’s search” for its vacant coaching position.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports added details to what a source deemed “a hot mess” following the backlash to the reported coaching decision:

The Volunteers are looking for a new head coach after they fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 with two games to go in the regular season. They went on to lose both to finish 0-8 in SEC play. The program, which used to be a realistic contender for conference championships, hasn’t won double-digit games since the 2007 campaign.

Schiano finished with a 68-67 record as the head coach of Rutgers and led the Scarlet Knights to a 5-1 record in six bowl games during his final seven seasons with the school.

Wolken painted what would have been a promising picture for the Tennessee program if the focus was solely on football:

“Schiano is a grownup, a serious ball coach who runs a disciplined program on and off the field. He was a relentless recruiter at Rutgers, tapping into Florida and Ohio and putting players in the NFL. He is endorsed by Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick as one of the game’s finest defensive minds. He would be by far Tennessee’s most accomplished head coaching hire since they lured Johnny Majors from Pittsburgh in 1977.”

Wolken also detailed the alleged ties between Schiano and what happened at Penn State, noting McQueary said in his deposition he “briefly” spoke with former assistant Tom Bradley.

“McQueary went on to say that Bradley had told him another assistant—purported to be Schiano, who had left Penn State nine years before McQueary started there—had once claimed to see Sandusky doing something inappropriate, a claim Schiano and Bradley both denied,” Wolken wrote.

Alas, Tennessee will now move on in its coaching search as it attempts to find someone who can lead it back to national prominence.