Governor Won’t Volunteer Opinions on UT AD Search

As governor, Bill Haslam is chairman of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, but Haslam said Wednesday he will not be involved in the selection of a new director of athletics at the school.

“No, I won’t be. I can say for certain I will not be involved at all,” Haslam said Wednesday in Murfreesboro, where he was holding a bill-signing ceremony. “That’s the UTK chancellor’s role, and I won’t be involved in picking the head of the new chemistry department at … wherever … either.”

The Haslam family has strong ties to the University of Tennessee’s athletics program. Jim Haslam II, the governor’s father and founder of Pilot Corp., is a former football player at Tennessee and has been one of the school’s most prominent donors. James Haslam III, the governor’s brother, has also been a major contributor to the school.

Tennessee is seeking a replacement for Athletics Director Mike Hamilton, who announced his resignation this week.

The school’s athletics department is facing allegations of 12 violations of NCAA rules in its football and men’s basketball programs, and representatives of the school will face the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Bill Haslam, a former mayor of Knoxville, was also asked if his father might play a role in the search for a new AD.

“I don’t think so,” the governor said. “I don’t know that, but I wouldn’t anticipate it.”