Butch Jones, the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football program, has been at the center of a major controversy on and off the Knoxville, Tenn. campus. It all centers around the handling of an alleged sexual assault by two now-former players on the Vols football team.
Currently, the two ex-players, A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, are charged with rape in connection to this alleged incident and both face trail this summer after delays in trials originally slated for this past winter.
As for Jones, it has been alleged in an ongoing Title IX lawsuit at UT that he belittled Drae Bowles and told the player that he “betrayed the team” for attempting to help the victim of the alleged assault by Johnson and Williams.
Bowles also claims that Curt Maggitt, a teammate on the Vols, punched him in the face for helping the girl that was allegedly assaulted.
It is also alleged that Jones later contacted Bowles to apologize to him. That’s where the story picks up on Wednesday, as phone records obtained by The Tennessean indicate two phone calls to Bowles on the day in question in the late afternoon.
It was also revealed that Jones’ phone records indicate that he was intimately involved in the aftermath of the alleged assault by Johnson and Williams. His phone records show calls to players, authorities and his boss at UT, Dave Hart.
Jones played off those calls as routine in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Anytime we have a disciplinary issue with a player, we have as many conversations as needed with players, parents, law enforcement, whomever until we can be sure that we are making the best decision possible,” Jones said in his statement Wednesday. “These are decisions that can be life-changing for these individuals. After taking into account all the information we could gather in this case, we made the decision to suspend two student-athletes from the team immediately.”
While that is all likely true, the important part here is that these records also serve to back up the testimony and claims made by Bowles in the Title IX suit and those he has publicly made as well.
According to the report, Jones’ phone log shows an incoming call from Bowles at 3:45 p.m. that lasted seven minutes. The report also shows that the coach called Bowles at 9:46 p.m., a conversation that lasted nine minutes in duration.
As for the calls to Bowles and his family? Jones’ statement on Wednesday also indicated those calls were for the well being of Bowles, given the situation he was involved in.
“Regarding the calls to Drae Bowles and his father, I care about Drae as a person and as a player and have frequent communications with players or their parents,” Jones said Wednesday in a statement. “I am very comfortable with everything Drae, Mr. Bowles, and I discussed, and I wish him nothing but the very best.
“My intent was to support Drae and make sure he was OK. There’s nothing more important to me than the ultimate success in the life of our students.”
What is most interesting is that Jones’ call logs also indicate that he called the alleged attacker of Bowles in the Vols locker room, Curt Maggitt. The report indicates that Jones tried to reach him at 12:59p.m. and couldn’t get an answer, only to call again at 1:30p.m. and speak to Maggitt for five minutes.
In a Title IX case that seems to be very murky and with many moving parts, the corroboration of Bowels testimony by phone records makes things a bit clearer to the public-at-large. It also sheds light as to the concern many have as to the inner workings of the day surrounding the alleged sexual assault.