In a stunning turn of events Sunday evening, Tennessee and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano backed out of a deal for him to become the Volunteers football coach after unprecedented social media backlash to reports, including one from USA TODAY Sports, that the hire was imminent.
A person involved in the negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter was supposed to be private, said Tennessee was reassessing its situation after both sides essentially were bullied out of the deal.
Tennessee athletics director John Currie flew to Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday in hopes of culminating the deal and bringing Schiano back to Knoxville for a news conference. The paperwork was in the process of being finalized when the decision was made to reassess the situation.
Part of the backlash stems from Schiano's connection to Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. Testimony that was unsealed last year detailed former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary's claim that he heard that Schiano, who was an assistant with the Nittany Lions, had witnessed Sandusky "doing something" to a boy in the shower.
Schiano testified and publicly denied seeing — or even having knowledge of — Sandusky's crimes against children.
It's unclear where Tennessee goes from here. It had been considering three candidates over the weekend including Dan Mullen, who went to Florida, and Iowa State's Matt Campbell, whose $9 million buyout was an obstacle.