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Tennessee coaching offer controversy demonstrates power of fans, social media in sport

Monday, November 27, 2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Tennessee will not hire Greg Schiano as its next football coach after originally announcing the hire, following a wave of backlash for his alleged role in the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, according to multiple reports. Responses to the announcement came from social media, fans of Tennessee’s program and state lawmakers as well. The response and subsequent decision to rescind a job offer are illustrations of the power fans and stakeholders have in the world of sports, a University of Kansas researcher said.

Jordan Bass, assistant professor of health, sport & exercise science at KU, is available to discuss the Schiano situation with media. Bass has published research on the role of fans and social media in the business of sport and studied “forced crowdsourcing” via social media. He can discuss Schiano and the Tennessee coaching offer, social media’s role in sport, fan influence, the business of sport, coach firings and discipline, and related topics.

Schiano was an assistant coach to Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1990 to 1995 and was linked to the child sexual abuse scandal of fellow assistant Jerry Sandusky. Depositions in the case claim Schiano had witnessed Sandusky abusing children. Schiano has stated he was not aware of the abuse. But the backlash and Tennessee’s subsequent decision not to hire Schiano are illustrations of the role fans can play in decision making in large sporting organizations, Bass said.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or mkrings@ku.edu.

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