Tennessee fans were on top of the world at the beginning of July. It all started with some recruiting momentum when highly-touted punter Matt Darr committed for the 2010 season on July 2. The same day the Vols received another committment from Justin Worley, a 6’4″ quarterback for the 2011 season. Then the announcement on July 5 that an experienced defensive end would be transferring to Tennessee and eligible to play in 2010. This news was made sweeter by the fact the defensive end was Malik Jackson, a junior at the University of Southern California, the home of former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin whom Derek Dooley was able to woo away from the now-despised Kiffin. The Vols continued their momentum by picking up a committment from Allan Carson, a defensive tackle from Oxford, Alabama. All in all it had been a great start to July for the Vols.
That is until July 9 when Tennessee football players Da’Rick Rogers and Darren Myles Jr. were arrested outside a Cumberland Avenue bar for their alleged involvement in a brawl. Numerous other Vols were named in various police and bystander reports, but no new news has been released as of today.
The bar brawl is one of numerous legal troubles for Vol athletes over the last 8 months, including an armed robbery by football players and possession of drugs and weapons by basketball players. And though these events have cast a poor light on Tennessee of late, the most recent event is just one in an array of bad behaivor by NCAA athletes.
It was announced today the NCAA is currently investigating South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin and former Florida offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey due to allegations of improper benefits. Reports say Pouncey received $100,000 from an agent between the Gator’s SEC Championship loss to Alabama and their victory over Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Saunders and Austin are being investigated for travel expenses incurred during a recent trip to South Beach and how the expenses were paid for. All these allegations only put a bow on the weekend where 8 Notre Dame football players were arrested for underage consumption.
The NCAA and head coaches seem to have their hands full with how to punish players, schools, etc. and will most likely be sending out punishments well into the beginning of the college football season. Though no actual punishments have been handed out yet, one thing is certain; Fans hope the college football season is half as exciting as the the off-season has been.