Roy Exum: UT’s Idiotic ‘Correctness’

Saturday, November 15, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When the great Southern novelist and noted liberal Pat Conroy wrote an impelling book called, “My Reading Life,” he had quite a line: “I would like to say that political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas, to open-heartedness, or to the spirit of art itself."

“Political correctness has a stranglehold on academia, on feminism, and on the media,” Conroy wrote with great clarity. “It is a form of both madness and maggotry, and has already silenced the voices of writers like James Dickey across the land.”

I have proof Conroy was right and direct you towards another Pat.

I want you to think hard as you sit beside me facing Knoxville’s “Summit,” the basketball floor that bears the name of a woman who quietly yet forcefully did more for women in Tennessee than any other I can name. Pat Summit’s “Lady Vols” are a regal brand, as they say in today’s marketing classes, and the Lady Vols stand for all that is good, mighty, and right at our state’s flagship university. Why on earth would anyone suddenly stigmatize that?

Allow me to explain. Earlier this week the sage and pompous beards who, more times than not, attempt to fix what is hardly broken at the university announced that this summer there would be a major rebranding in Knoxville called One Tennessee. Makes your heart thump, huh?

Adidas uniforms will give way to the Nike brand and, from that point forward, all athletic teams, regardless of gender, will be called “Tennessee.” Both men and women athletes will be “Volunteers,” or “Vols” with no other distinction in an perplexing age of unisex restrooms, same-sex marriage and all else those of a liberal mindset can think of to make the lives of the majority miserable.

But, at Tennessee, there is a caveat. Yes, one team at Tennessee will remain as the Lady Vols. It will be the team that Pat built, the brand that she established when she personally set the bar higher than the rest for young girls all across the state. It gloriously reflects the years she drove the bus, washed the uniforms and played in front of crowds totally less than 100 before her touch yielded those rousing national championships. Not even university Chancellor Jimmy Cheek dares touch the Lady Vols basketball dynasty.

Instead, the PhD-in-charge embarrassed the university and his office, setting up his own knockdown with a sanctimonious opening that would soon draw scorn from the nation’s feminists: “Brand consistency across the university is critical as we strive to become a Top 25 public research university. It is important we take advantage of all the successes across this great campus, both in academics and athletics.”

Oh please – what rubbish. But what ideal tinder for the fire to come! Cheek sidestepped like a Fiddler crab when he then announced to gaping mouths the women’s basketball team would remain the Lady Vols. Forget the ample and annual monetary contributions to the women’s team, he claimed that had little to do with the thin-veiled exemption lest you be so naive.

The chancellor claimed it was “because of the accomplishments and legacy of the championship program built by Pat Summit and her former players. The Lady Volunteers nickname and brand is truly reflective of Coach Summit and her legacy and will continue to be associated with the basketball team.”

Are you following me here? Double-speak Jimmy is now getting gobbled up in the feminists’ world of ceaseless indignation, but far worse are other women who should really matter and they, too, are incensed. Natalie Brock, a Lady Vol softball player now coaching a college team in Missouri, told USA Today: “It was something different that nobody else had. We had our own identity. I understand things have to change but there is a lot of history and pride that goes with (being a Lady Vol.)”

Chelsea Hatcher played soccer for the Lady Vols, earning first-team All-SEC honors in 2010. She said the basketball team keeping the trademark while it is stripped away from the other women’s teams “feels like a little bit of a slap in the face to the rest of the female athletes who work just as hard every day to represent their university.”

Jennifer Bailey, who was once on the rowing team and never will forget wearing the Orange, didn’t try to hide her hurt. “It’s not just basketball – it’s all of us together. All of us together are the Lady Vols,” she said.

UT women’s basketball coach (excuse me, but how else can you identify her correctly?) Holly Warlick told the media she was behind the One Tennessee campaign that “has united all the athletic teams here” but former swimmer Alex Barsanti ain’t buying it. “Really disappointed and really frustrated,” she told USA Today. “I don’t feel united at all.”

“I think it is weird more than anything,” Barsanti said of the women’s basketball exemption. “I think it almost makes them the outcast of the athletic department if you are trying to do the One Tennessee thing.”

So there you have it. As Charles Osgood once said on a Sunday morning telecast, “Being politically correct means always saying you are sorry.”

And Chancellor Jimmy Cheek should dutifully apologize to every young woman who earned the right to be called a Lady Vol. It is a treasure they’ll carry a lifetime, never a burden at a time in our society where we need more women on pedestals of their making.

Hagerty vs. Sethi - Who To Vote For?

Roy Exum: Made In His Image

Send Your Opinions To; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

Once again election season is upon us. While America is already deeply divided between blue and red, democrats and republicans, Trump and non-Trumpers, these various factions are finding themselves ... (click for more)

Max Lucado, Pastor Emeritus of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, has been my favorite Christian author for many, many years. Fifteen years ago, he was named as The Best Pastor in the United ... (click for more)

We welcome your opinions at Email to . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone ... (click for more)


Hagerty vs. Sethi - Who To Vote For?

Once again election season is upon us. While America is already deeply divided between blue and red, democrats and republicans, Trump and non-Trumpers, these various factions are finding themselves even further divided as they squabble over who to vote for in the upcoming the primaries. As has been the case for more than a decade, I’ve been getting asked about who I might recommend ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Made In His Image

Max Lucado, Pastor Emeritus of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, has been my favorite Christian author for many, many years. Fifteen years ago, he was named as The Best Pastor in the United States and his incredible gift is best found in the comforting words that he has used in almost 100 books. The experts tell us that today there are more than 135 million copies of Lucado’s ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Adds 75 New Cases, Another Death To COVID Toll

Hamilton County Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes said Friday that Hamilton County has added 75 new coronavirus cases, with the number of cumulative cases being 3,255. She said there are 2,096 recovered cases, and 1,122 active COVID patients in the community. She reported another COVID death to the total. The 37 th death was a White non-Hispanic male between 61-70 ... (click for more)

Protest Leader Takes Down Sheriff's Flag In Front Of Jail, Burns It At Miller Park

A protest leader acknowledged in an Internet post that she took down the Sheriff's Department flag from in front of the County Jail and burned it at Miller Park. Marie Mott said she did so because "I got tired of seeing it flying knowing there are black, brown and poor white people in that jail while white people are allowed not to wear a mask when we have a virus that kills ... (click for more)


Tee Times Announced For 2020 CWGA City Women's Amateur Golf Championship

The 2020 City Women's Amateur Golf Championship will be held on Tuesday at Black Creek Country Club. Listed below are the first round tee times. Hole 1 Name H.I. C.H. TEE 8:00 AM Ryon, Carlene 7.4 6 White-CWGA ... (click for more)

Top Announcer John Freeman To Make The Call When CFC Once Again Takes The Field On Saturday

For John Freeman, working CFC’s Saturday match against the Georgia Revolution is something of a thank you letter to the Chattanooga Football Club. As a TV broadcaster for Nashville SC, he believes his job would not have existed without CFC's success. “What excites me most about being part of a CFC broadcast and why I was so excited to say yes, was that Chattanooga was one ... (click for more)