Report: Trainer may have accused Manning of academic cheating 2 years before incident

While at Tennessee, Peyton Manning was a fine student, the school says. But a trainer may have accused him of academic fraud in 1994, two years before an alleged incident of sexual harassment against her.

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The headline on the Washington Post’s latest article about the twisting tale of Peyton Manning and a former trainer at the University of Tennessee refers to a "mysterious 1994 incident" between them.

Wait, 1994? Didn’t the incident in the news — when Manning did something inappropriate or perhaps much worse while trainer Dr. Jamie Naughright was checking his foot for possible injury — happen in 1996?

Yes, it did. So what’s this about 1994?

After picking his way around redacted sections of court documents on the matter, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Will Hobson concludes Naughright "may have accused (Manning) of cheating in a class."

In fact, in the documents that have sparked the current furor, and have been used as the basis for articles in the New York Daily News, Naughright’s lawyers refer to what happened in 1996 as "The Second Manning Incident."

From Hobson’s article:

The first, Naughright’s lawyers wrote, happened in the fall of 1994, and is detailed in a sealed section that follows the heading "Peyton Manning’s Motive & Malice." "In the fall of 1994, an incident occurred involving Peyton Manning which will not only explain the genesis for Peyton Manning’s dislike for Dr. Naughright, but will be relevant to understanding the 1996 incident," Naughright’s lawyers wrote. The next three-and-a-half pages are blank.

Lawyers for Manning asked for the redactions in the court record, the Post reports, and Naughright’s attorneys agreed.

However, part of a deposition from former Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey slipped through, with Dickey asked about Naughright’s being a guest lecturer in a course taught by associate AD Carmen Tegano. Here’s the key question asked Dickey by Naughright’s lawyer: "Do you recall it ever being reported by Carmen Tegano, or anyone else, that Dr. Naughright had spoken to Carmen Tegano about the possibility of Peyton Manning having committed academic fraud in that course?"

Dickey answered, "No."

In a 2003 deposition, Manning said he was never in a class taught by Naughright.

Tegano was deposed, too, and he said he decided to stop using Naughright as a guest lecturer, though he couldn’t recall why. What Tegano did recall in his testimony is why he avoided Naughright on campus: "Because I didn’t want her energy in my karma circle."

Reached by the Post this week, Tegano said it didn’t make sense that Manning, then a freshman, would have cheated in the class in question, because of both the nature of the course and Manning’s performance as a student. Manning, according to a Tennessee news release, graduated with a 3.61 grade-point average.

"It was a one-hour pass/fail class that was required of all athletes, and under no circumstances did Peyton Manning cheat. The class was based on attendance. … It was an orientation class," Tegano told the Post. "Do you think he needed to cheat in a pass/fail class? … We’re talking about a man who graduated with one of the highest grade-point averages in his class."

Neither Manning’s spokesman nor Naughright commented to the Post about the report.

Read the entire Washington Post article here.