KNOXVILLE -- Rick Barnes addressed recent reports of academic misconduct allegations under his watch Texas for the first time on Monday night.
Tennessee's new basketball coach had some strong words in response.
A report from The Chronicle of Higher Education published earlier this month mentioned three instances of possible academic misconduct involving Texas basketball players in the last nine years.
Barnes coached at Texas for 17 seasons before the Volunteers hired him in March.
"You know, I think the reason I haven't said anything about it (is) if you read the article from my point of view ... there's no legs to it," Barnes said between watching games, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans at Monday night's Rocky Top League games.
"I think Texas has said everything that needed to be said. I'm sure they'll pursue whatever they think they have to do there, but it was made clear that I had no involvement in it, which I knew. If I thought there was something, I would address. The fact that it has no legs, I'm not really concerned about it."
On the day the report was published, Texas released a statement that said Barnes had no knowledge or involvement in the allegations, and Tennessee athletic director also said via statement he backed Barnes and echoed the findings of his former program.
According to the report from The Chronicle, former academic advisors claimed basketball player Martez Walker used his cell phone to snap pictures of test questions during a final exam in the fall of 2013 and seek help on answers from someone outside the classroom.
One former academic mentor said Barnes helped former Longhorns guard J'Covan Brown write papers for courses, and a tutor for P.J. Tucker, the 2006 Big 12 Conference player of the year, said the current Phoenix Suns guard received impermissible academic assistance while he prepared for the NBA draft.
Texas announced it had launched an independent review into its academics and those allegations, but Barnes said Monday night he hasn't been contacted as part of that review.
The first he heard of the allegations were two weeks prior to the article's release, he said, when The Chronicle contacted him for comment regarding the story.
"I'd never heard anything of that while I was at Texas," he said.
Though Barnes could be subject to sanctions if the NCAA decides to investigate the academic misconduct allegations and finds violations, there hasn't been much concern on Tennessee's part since the story was published.
And Barnes said as much Monday night.
"Did you read the article? What do you think?" he asked rhetorically. "You guys write it. You guys read the article. It was pretty obvious what was said in the article. There's nothing there, from my point of view. I'm just saying. Texas has come out and said that and been pretty clear. If I was to say anything, it'd be it's disappointing why my picture was put there with it anyway.
"If I did make a statement, I'd say that I hate for everything's that happened here at the University of Tennessee even for something like that to pop up. But from where I stand and where I sit and what I know and the people that I'm close to back there -- everyone said, 'Hey, there's nothing to it.' There's no legs to it, so why get involved? And I'm not."
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.