UPDATE (2:58p ET): Per another incessant rumor, I recently contacted TMZ to ask if the website has reporters in Knoxville investigating Kiffin’s alleged alt-lifestyle. A TMZ spokesperson told me today, “we are not in Knoxville.”
Message boards and blogs are abuzz with rumors about unsavory off-field conduct by Lane Kiffin during his tenure in Knoxville as Tennessee coach. Much of the speculation has been fueled by this photo:
Many around the web are saying that the photo indicates Kiffin partying with UT coeds with his wife Layla nowhere in sight. Along with this “evidence,” many message board posters and bloggers are accusing Kiffin of additional sins, along with the obligatory cries of a coverup by the Knoxville Police.
Today I learned from a source that photo was taken in Knoxville last year on April 3. The pic includes Lane Kiffin, Mike Tomlin, former Kiffin UT staffer David Reaves and Kiffin’s wife Layla Reaves Kiffin.
Tomlin was in town at the time for a coaching clinic that was being run by Kiffin.
In talking to several college football and media sources today, including a coach who has previously worked with Kiffin and a search firm source, I’ve found no evidence to suggest that Kiffin was a wild man off the field. Not even a hint.
Because of Kiffin’s unpopularity with fans, media and even within his own profession, if there was something there, it would’ve been leaked long ago.
I’m not completely dismissing what is being said about Kiffin, but I have serious doubts that any of it is true. Serious enough not to detail the speculation here.