Our current cultural moment makes this situation very touchy for Schiano and the UT folks looking to hire him. The former UT board member indicates this in his cagey/equivocal/PC language:
"In the current environment you couldn't have done anything worse than [be] perceived to have known about Jerry Sandusky (and said nothing)."
The board member rightly recognizes that many people are ultra touchy about anything related to sexual assault being bantered about in the public square in Fall 2017. The faintest whiff of an accusation can stop the traffic this month.
Other posters are probably right that if it was a higher profile coach you wouldn't be hearing this from UT fans. But also, if it was November 2016 instead of November 2017, you would probably not see this outrage from UT fans, this political posturing by TN social elites, or this caving by the UT brass.
I am very glad that sexual assault has become utterly intolerable in our culture. But I don't like the fact that we live in a moment when an unfounded, slanderous, or duplicitous allegation could immediately derail any one of our careers---especially more publicly-facing careers.
Like the board member's comments demonstrate, the absolute worst position an institution can be in during this cultural moment is one in which it appears---even to ignorant people with mere headline understanding of a situation and itchy Twitter fingers---to side with the accused. It's not right, but one can understand the political pressure on UT to walk back their offer given the outrage and posturing.
It's sad that in order to let the dominos fall in Hollywood and Congress, the innocent may also occasionally be made to suffer on account of the scumbags whose perversion has created this cultural moment.