Vols shuffling RBs due to Brown dispute
Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009 4:32 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said Thursday he will have to start limiting freshman tailback Bryce Brown’s opportunities in practice if the Volunteers don’t have a resolution soon to his NCAA investigation.
Kiffin said he’ll have to focus more on his other running backs in case Brown isn’t available to play in the first few games because of punishment from the NCAA.
Kiffin revealed Wednesday that the NCAA is investigating Brown’s eligibility.
At issue is whether money was improperly raised for Brown to visit colleges during his sophomore year.
Tennessee was not recruiting Brown at that time.
Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he’s been informed of the NCAA’s initial decision in the case but is appealing.
He declined to say what the decision entailed.
Hamilton was out of the office Thursday and did not return messages left by The Associated Press on his cell phone. A Tennessee spokeswoman declined further comment on the investigation.
“I’m going to see what happens here. I’m going to leave it at we’re working with them,” Kiffin said. “It’s consuming because it’s on my mind all the time because I want what’s best for the kid.”
Brown has missed most of practice this week as he recovers from a hip injury.
He dressed in pads and warmed up with the Vols on Thursday, but coaches pulled him from practice after it became clear he was still sore.
A Tuesday MRI was negative.
Kiffin said the investigation and injury are especially hard for Bryce because he is so serious about football.
“Football is No. 1 to him and being a great player is No. 1 to him, and every decision he makes is about it,” he said. “This is not a kid that parties. This is a kid that eats perfect, almost. This is a kid that trains every day of his life because he is so serious about being a great player, so this is hard for him.”