Jonathan Crompton enjoyed some legitimate success as the quarterback of the Tennessee Volunteers. His senior season was impressive in that Crompton piloted the ship to a winning season with more than twice as many touchdown passes as interceptions and it was clear that he showed real talent.
However, Crompton’s tour of duty in Knoxville wasn’t always great, as his junior year in 2008 was marred by the firing of Philip Fulmer after a disappointing campaign. With that bit of context out of the way, Crompton’s family was not treated well during his college years and he recently outlined that treatment, as well as his feelings toward the university and its fans, in a recent interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
“I’ve only been back to Tennessee twice for games since I left. ‘Animosity’ is probably the best word for how I felt for a long time. I know it wasn’t the majority of the fans, but there were enough examples that it really left a bad taste in my mouth. And I don’t want to have that bad taste toward my alma mater anymore. I really don’t.
“I could take it if they would just say things to me, but because they would yell things at my family, I developed a genuine dislike for that place. I’m not sure how to fix that, but there are so many people still there that I love and respect and would love to see.
“I still believe Tennessee has the No. 1 fan base in the country. It’s just hard to forget some of the things that happened to me and my family while I was there.”
It isn’t hard to believe, unfortunately, that the quarterback’s family would take verbal abuse from the fan base but it is definitely not a good look for Tennessee. The notion that Crompton “developed a genuine dislike” for Knoxville and the campus as a result is telling and it is a reminder that fans, as a whole, should understand the stakes enough to not project their negativity on to families of college students.
Jonathan Crompton seems to be in a better place now and that is great, but he shouldn’t have been forced to deal with the issues he details here.