Greg Schiano breaks silence on nearly being hired by Tennessee

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2013, file photo, then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano reacts on the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

BY Wes Rucker -247SPORTS

Greg Schiano has finally spoken about his near-hire at Tennessee.

Well … sort of.

Schiano, Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, verbally agreed to become Tennessee’s head football coach earlier this month, and he signed a memorandum of understanding to accept the position. Tennessee’s side of the MOU required multiple signatures, though, and an outcry from fans, boosters and some inside the athletic department caused Tennessee to back out of the agreement before completing the process and making it legally binding. The Vols later forced out athletic director John Currie, too, and successor Phillip Fulmer ultimately hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

This week’s Cotton Bowl came with requirements that Schiano speak with reporters, so the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator finally had to face questions about the Tennessee situation.

Schiano answered those questions in the sense that he spoke. He didn’t actually say much, though, according to Dave Biddle at 247Sports’ Bucknuts.

“I’m going to speak about that whole thing at some point when it’s appropriate,” Schiano said. “Right now, I don’t think it is. Right now, it’s all about this season, and the Cotton Bowl and us closing out this season the right way.

“There will be a time that’s appropriate to speak on that, and then I will.”

Schiano remained coy when asked if possible legal circumstances made him reluctant to answer specific questions about the situation.

“You know what, again, I’m going to refrain from speaking about it, period,” Schiano said. “Because I want all the focus to be on this football game.”

Schiano’s legal options aren’t clear, but multiple legal experts have told GoVols247 that any verbal agreement in the state of Tennessee featuring an exchange of $10,000 or more requires a signed contract, and that Tennessee law states clearly that all designated spaces for signatures must be signed in order to make a contract legally-binding. In this case, that means all UT personnel listed as signatories on a contract must sign that contract in order to make it legally-binding.

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