East Tennessee State head coach Randy Sanders has been suspended by the university with pay while an investigation is underway regarding a potential violation of university policy. The policy violation in question? Allegedly striking a player in the helmet during a practice session on Friday.
“The head coach of the ETSU football team has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy,” a statement from East Tennessee State said.
According to a report by Johnson City Press, Sanders allegedly struck freshman defensive back Tyree Robison after Robinson did not take a knee during a drill. University policy dictates any employee may be suspended with pay until a formal investigation can be concluded. In addition to the departure of offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield to Baylor, the East Tennessee State football program will continue spring practices with no head coach and no offensive coordinator as a result of the suspension and departure.
East Tennessee State’s spring game is scheduled for Thursday.
One of the highlights of the early 2016 college football schedule will be the matchup between Virginia Tech and Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway in Week 2. The two schools will play football on the infield at the famous racetrack for one of the more unique settings we have seen in the sport, but the Vols and Hokies will not be the only football teams to take the field in Bristol this fall. Southern Conference members Western Carolina and East Tennessee State will take the field the following week.
The two schools announced the arrangement to play their September 17 game at Bristol Motor Speedway at a joint press conference in Bristol on Thursday. It will be the first Southern Conference game for East Tennessee State since 2003 (the school revived its dormant football program last season after a 12-year hiatus).
“We are first of all very excited about the renewal of the Southern Conference football rivalry between Western Carolina and ETSU,” said Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir. “We’re looking forward to being the first SoCon team to welcome Buccaneer football back to the SoCon – and to be able to do so in such a storied American sports venue like Bristol Motor Speedway is an awesome opportunity for both of our programs.”
The race track is close to being in the middle fo Virginia Tech and Tennessee, but East Tennessee State is located just 20 miles away from Bristol, compared to the 127-miles Western Carolina will have to travel for the game.