By DARRYL MAXIE / email@example.com
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin insists he has apologized more than once to Pahokee principal Ariel Alejo, but hinted that his gestures weren’t being accepted because the principal is loyal to Florida.
“Yeah, I’ve reached out,” Kiffin told VolQuest.com. “Going way back and even last week. But that’s all I can do and that’s all I can control. Some people’s allegiances are to the college they graduated from.”
Alejo booted one of Tennessee’s assistants off campus in response to the comments that Kiffin made more than three months ago. In this space, we raised the question how effective such moves really are. Kiffin’s answer follows.
“We’ve not seen it affect recruiting at all there, not one bit,” the coach said. “So, we’ll continue to try to reach out to the people who are still upset there, as we have from the beginning. Just continue to compete to make sure everybody feels good about Tennessee football.”
The principal may be getting the approval of Gators fans, but there’s backlash for his actions, too. Clay Travis of NCAA Football FanHouse blasted Alejo for “a ridiculous and colossal misplacement of school time, energy and focus” and said the principal should concentrate on raising below-average test scores rather than baring his fangs against Tennessee. Like Kiffin, he hints that Alejo is doing this out of loyalty to Florida, and said the principal had replaced a Gators logo with the Pahokee seal on his public profile.
One of the more scathing excerpts from Travis, a professed Tennessee fan, follows:
“Principal Alejo should be fired. Right now. Immediately. Whoever is in charge of Florida’s high schools should issue a statement. It should read as follows: ‘We’re happy whenever any of our students receive scholarship offers to attend college. Particularly when those offers arrive for students from comparatively disadvantaged background who have to work twice as hard to achieve their college dreams. Principal Alejo showed not just bad judgment, but his actions were the anti-thesis of the principles we support in Florida schools. He’s been reassigned to janitorial duties in Miami.’ ”
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