Tennessee coach Butch Jones told sophomore wide receiver Drae Bowles that Bowles "betrayed the team" after helping a woman who said she had been sexually assaulted by two football players, according to an amended complaint filed Wednesday in a Title IX lawsuit against the university.
According to the filing, Jones later apologized for calling Bowles "a traitor."
In a statement released Wednesday night, Jones called Bowles' assertion "absolutely false."
"To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question," he said. "During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man's own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed."
Bowles was also punched in the mouth and bloodied by teammate Curt Maggitt as retribution for helping the woman, Bowles said in the sworn affidavit filed in federal court. He also said he was confronted by teammates Geraldo Orta and Marlin Lane the following day.
University sources told ESPN.com that the student judicial affairs department, independent of the athletic department, investigated the Bowles assault/retaliation allegations in December 2014, and Bowles told judicial affairs officials at the time that Jones handled the matter properly. Bowles continued to practice with the team that season and dressed for the last three games, including the bowl game.
Bowles ultimately transferred to UT-Chattanooga after the season.
Although the allegations that Bowles was attacked by teammates were in the original complaint filed Feb. 9 in Nashville, the amendment adds details and a signed declaration from Bowles that states the allegations in the suit "are true with respect to the statements and descriptions of events pertaining to me.''
The complaint states Bowles was driving when he noticed a woman "hyperventilating and crying near bushes in the parking lot.''
When Bowles was in the locker room later that day, according to the complaint, Maggitt confronted him and punched him in the mouth. Bowles fought back and threw punches before teammates broke up the fight.
According to the lawsuit, Jones called Bowles after the incident and expressed his disappointment in him.
Bowles was eating alone the next day when Orta and Lane "aggressively came over to Bowles' table to jump him as they shouted at him," before football strength coach Brandon Myles intervened, the complaint states.
The complaint also states Jones took no action to discipline Orta, Lane or Maggitt.
The filing also showed that two more unnamed women who say they were sexually assaulted joined the lawsuit against Tennessee. The federal lawsuit alleges Tennessee has violated Title IX regulations and created a "hostile sexual environment'' through a policy of indifference toward assaults by student-athletes. The suit now includes eight unidentified women as plaintiffs.
One of the two women added to the lawsuit says she was sexually assaulted by Vols wide receiver Von Pearson in April 2015. Pearson was not charged but was found to have violated the school's code of conduct, according to the lawsuit. The woman claims that the university mishandled her claims against Pearson, who ultimately was reinstated to the school and was allowed to rejoin the team, which he led in receiving this past season.
The other woman accuses defensive lineman Alexis Johnson of assault. He was arrested earlier this month after allegedly assaulting a woman in his apartment, and was subsequently suspended from the team.
"The facts, as opposed to allegations in a complaint, will demonstrate that the University acted properly in the matters at issue," Bill Ramsey, the attorney representing Tennessee, said in a statement Wednesday night. "We have continuously worked hard to improve our processes and our procedures to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prevent incidents of assault, to support victims of assault and to pursue justice while ensuring due process for those accused. We will vigorously defend all claims in the amended complaint."
Jones and 15 other varsity coaches at Tennessee held a joint news conference Tuesday in which they said they believe the athletic department is being portrayed unfairly as a result of the lawsuit.
Jones was asked how anyone making a sexual assault complaint in the future might react to seeing all the head coaches at a major university praising the culture at a school being sued over its handling of reported incidents.
"I don't want you to think in any way, shape or form that we don't feel for the alleged victims,'' Jones said. "We feel for them. I hurt for them. We all hurt for them. I want to make sure people understand that. That hits at our soul.''
Added men's basketball coach Rick Barnes: "We don't want the stereotype that there's something out there that's not true."
There have been several sexual assault complaints made against Tennessee student-athletes over the past four years, including the two previously mentioned in the suit, A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, who were indicted on aggravated rape charges in February 2015 and have separate trial dates this summer.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.