And you thought you wouldn't have Phillip Fulmer to kick around anymore. The Great Pumpkin of Tennessee football fame may have quit as coach but he's baaaaaaack in the spotlight, and everyone's having lots of fun throwing spitballs at him again.
Fulmer has taken a $12,500-a-month job to supposedly raise money for the university. That's right, $12,500 a month. And that's on top of the gazillion dollars he's getting as his buyout for quitting as coach.
University President John Petersen says Fulmer will be paid with private, not public, money. And it's only a three-month gig. But the news is jolting at a time of budget cuts and layoffs across the state's higher education system. Just this week, Petersen announced a hiring freeze and moratorium on new academic programs at the university in Knoxville.
Faculty members, in particular, are experiencing "considerable distress" over Fulmer's appointment as special assistant. In an email to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Faculty Senate President John Nolt says:
"We are at this moment in the middle of campus budget hearings in which we are contemplating laying off many of our nontenure-track faculty. This would result in severe course reductions next fall. The $37,500 salary that Peterson reportedly would pay Fulmer will pay for 300-400 student seats next year in courses taught by lecturers. Even if Fulmer wound up raising a great deal of money for academics, this is still the wrong message for the system administration to be sending at this very bleak time."