(CBS) – Six former students filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Tennessee last week, according to The Tennessean newspaper, claiming the athletic department has long condoned a “hostile sexual environment.”
The lawsuit, filed under Title 9, references one allegation involving Peyton Manning during his time as a star college quarterback at Tennessee.
The New York Daily News reported this weekend on legal documents they obtained, originally from 2003, which detail an incident in 1996 when Manning was a sophomore at Tennessee. Athletic trainer Jamie Naughright was evaluating the then-19-year-old when he allegedly placed his exposed genitals on her head.
Manning denied the trainer’s claims, saying he was simply “mooning” another athlete who was in the room. Naughright sued the university and settled out of court, which reportedly included a mutual non-disclosure agreement with Manning. She also resigned from her job at the university.
Manning was the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Two years later, the quarterback co-authored a book with his father, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, in which he described the 1996 “mooning” incident as “crude maybe, but harmless,” and described the female trainer as having a “vulgar mouth.” Naughright sued again — and settled again — out of court in 2003.
The documents that surfaced over the weekend were originally filed in 2003 as part of Naughright’s lawsuit against Peyton, Archie and their book publisher. According to the Daily News, the court documents were never widely released, although USA Today reported on their contents.
Despite the 39-year-old’s Super Bowl win last weekend, his clean image has been under the microscope. The NFL is investigating a December report from Al Jazeera America in which Manning is accused of involvement with a performance enhancing drug, human growth hormone.
“I welcome that investigation. And I understand when an allegation is made, that the NFL has no choice to investigate it. I get that,” Manning told CBS Sports’ Bill Cowher earlier this month. “But I can tell you what they’re going to find. A big fat nothing. It’s been completely fabricated as far as the allegations of what they suggested that I did. It’s been nothing but pure junk.”