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South End Zone: Tennessee’s future is in danger because of its present

Why Tennessee is endangering the next 20 years by not focusing on what’s happened in the last 10.

We’re ecstatic to begin the South End Zone series today with a guest post from Griffin Brody. If you would like to become a FOX Sports Knoxville contributor and have your submissions appear on our site in the South End Zone, email us at fox@sportsradioknoxville.com.

I have grown up a Tennessee fan my entire life, coming to every home game since I was 3. I haven’t missed one since then except when I had the flu. Also, I’ve never missed a basketball game on television. Any time I could convince my parents to drive the hour and a half from Chattanooga to watch a game, I did. When it came time to apply for colleges, I applied only to Tennessee and didn’t even consider another college.

Even if I could have gone to a seemingly better college, it wasn’t something that crossed my mind. I was always a “Vol For Life” and would argue we were the best to everyone. Friends jumped from bandwagon to bandwagon, having fun watching their carefully picked teams win. I sat there watching my Vols struggle, but happy I had this true fandom in me.

I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but something has changed at Tennessee. Walking by Neyland every day and walking around Cumberland is different. I see a place so focused on the future that they ignore the present conditions. It’s a Board of Directors and Boosters so focused on what’s good for them and “the future” that they can’t get out of their own way. I see a once great University in severe decline. This is in an attempt to rebuild and brand itself “a top-25 University.” The Athletic Department is so focused on being UniSwag’s Uniform of the Year that they can’t see poor sports performance.

Tennessee is so focused on the future that the present is being completely ignored. They’re damaging themselves so much with this mindset that their pictured future is slipping out of their hands.

It has been an inexplicable amount of time since Dave Hart announced his retirement. We have a Board so focused on making sure “their guy” is hired to save the University that the athletics programs are in severe decline. They could have had an Athletic Director to help guide Butch Jones during this offseason full of important hires.

We could have hired an Athletic Director. Perhaps we could hire one to get Rick Barnes to make one home visit to a recruit.

We could have hired an Athletic Director who could deal with Warlick and Serrano’s lackluster performances despite the talent that they have.

Instead, the focus is on the future and whichever donor’s guy will help Tennessee the most. It’s ironic that this sight on the future is ruining not only the present landscape of Tennessee athletics, but possibly damaging any hope Tennessee has at the future everyone envisioned.

Griffin Brody is a student at Tennessee.

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