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Phillip Fulmer And Coaches Speak With Media, Still Trying To Figure Things Out



The University Of Tennessee Athletic department held a press conference this afternoon to discuss the latest when it comes to the Coronavirus and how it pertains to the school.


Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer spoke with the media for over 15 minutes to start the press conference. Fulmer started the press conference by saying he is “heartbroken for our student athletes involved. We need to and we have to put our competitive nature aside in the conference and come together to fight the spread of this virus.”


“Our coaches and athletes realize and have responded beautifully. If there is one thing our Volunteer spirit has prepared us for is to unite for the sake of the greater good.”


When asked how the school will handle the students that potentially come back to campus, Fulmer said :”Our medical staff is setting up a way to test our student athletes when they return. It will not be the coronavirus test, but it will help determine to move forward”


This sounds like it will be a regular physical and they will determine if any of the players are showing symptoms. Lets not forget the athletes that have traveled out of the country, which could make them a candidate for a 14 day quarantine.


Student Athletes that return to campus will be taken care of when it comes to nutrition, mental health and academics. There will be no team meetings, no workouts, no practice. The players will have to workout on their home, something Fulmer hopes is already happening.


Fulmer also said “I hope our millennials and I hope our young people will realize this is about somebody else, it’s not just about them.”


For the full Phillip Fulmer press conference, watch below.

Rick Barnes spoke with the media for about 10 minutes about the ramifications this has had on his team.


Barnes discussed what they did as a team when they returned “We did talk briefly as a team, trying to point out to them to be careful. We did reflect and talk about the year, on Jordan Bowden and what he did for our team.”


Barnes also said ” It’s God trying to get our attention right now too.As a parent where I want to be most of all, I want to be with my kids, I want my kids to be with me. That’s not possible in some ways with some people, but when it is possible for our players to be at home with their parents we want them to be there. I want them to be with me. In terms of “Without Sports”, I think right now there is a time ro reflect. You are with your families, it’s a very surreal time.”


Barnes went on ” I don’t think our players have fully grasped what is going on with our country. If I was that age, I don’t think I would understand either.”


For the full Rick Barnes press conference, you can watch below

Lady Vols HC Kellie Harper spoke about how they found out and the process that it entailed.

“You know it seems like a month ago now, just last Wednesday we were practicing. Thursday we had a team meeting to talk about potential logistics, nothing at this point had been decided about the NCAA Tournament, but we felt that’s where we were heading. On Friday we met with the team to talk about now how our season was over. It was very abrupt, just didn’t feel like we got a lot of closure with our season, because the most important thing we were talking about were logistics”

“We wanted to make sure our players knew the importance of taking care of themselves with this virus. The majority of our team is home and off campus now. We’ve got a couple that are finishing up some things and then they will be heading home, our international athletes have booked flights now to get home”


Tennessee Baseball HC Tony Vitello also spoke with the media today, discussing the impact this had on his team.


“They’ve taken it in stride, our team is kind of built to take a break in the action. We felt like we had a great team.”


When Vitello was asked about the scholarship situation for seniors and other players who have now lost a year on the NCAA clock “Until we have all the answers, it’s hard to move forward. Especially with scholarships potentially.”


A very poignant quote from Vitello came when he said “We would’ve either won a national championship or been crying on the field whenever their last game would’ve been,”


To watch this full Tony Vitello press conference, watch below.

One more quote I found interesting from Tony Vitello, was when he was asked what kind of time frame he’s hoping for when it comes to a resolution from the NCAA. “My gut reaction is that there is no rush at all. But just have proper sequence. With everything going on in the world, I don’t think there is a rush to it.”


Tennessee softball coach Karen Weekly said “What I was most proud of with our student-athletes is despite our disappointment about softball they quickly saw the bigger picture and this is about a world health crisis.”


This was a very surreal day, as only seven print and three television crews were in attendance, with chairs spaced out. They did take questions from us, but no microphone was used. You could tell this was a big deal, because in my opinion this will be the last press conference from an athletic side of things for at least eight weeks.


Phillip Fulmer made it very clear that no one person has tested positive for the coronavirus at this time and that they will take measures to prevent any kind of spreading if this becomes the case.


It has been a wild few days for these administrators and the players they are supposed to look after. The main concern is the well being of every student on the Tennessee campus and also their homes.


This will be an ongoing situation, but I think today was a way to let folks know that they are trying to handle things in the athletic department, when nobody really knows what is next. But, at least they have a plan.


Baseball, Softball, Track & Field and Football will have to wait, lets just hope they don’t have to wait too long.













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