published Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Vanderbilt identifies 4 dismissed players in sex crimes investigation

Like a number of his SEC brethren in recent years, Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin will have to address off-the-field issues at this week's SEC media days in Hoover, Ala.
Like a number of his SEC brethren in recent years, Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin will have to address off-the-field issues at this week's SEC media days in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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    Vanderbilt University announced Monday that receivers Cory Batey and Tip McKenzie, tight end Brandon Vandenburg and defensive back Brandon Banks were the four players dismissed last month and remain the focus of a sex crimes investigation with the Metro Nashville police.
    Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Vanderbilt University announced Monday that receivers Cory Batey and Tip McKenzie, tight end Brandon Vandenburg and defensive back Brandon Banks were the four players dismissed last month and remain the focus of a sex crimes investigation with the Metro Nashville police.

The school dismissed the players on June 29, and Commodores football coach James Franklin had not commented on their departures until releasing a statement Monday.

"In dealing with this matter, the Commodores football team will continue to hold itself to the same high standards of responsibility and integrity Vanderbilt demands of all of our students," Franklin said. "We are cooperating fully with the Nashville Police Department and have pledged not to say or do anything that could interfere with its work or compromise the rights of anyone involved. We have not prejudged anyone's guilt or innocence."

Vanderbilt identifying the players occurred on the eve of the Southeastern Conference's annual media days in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, which begins this afternoon with representatives from Florida, Ole Miss, Missouri and South Carolina. Franklin and three Commodores are scheduled to go before the media Thursday morning.

All four dismissed players appear in Vanderbilt's media guide that will be made available today, but their names have been removed from the school's athletic website.

Banks, Batey and McKenzie were members of Vanderbilt's 2012 signing class, and all three redshirted last season. Vandenburg was a member of this year's signing class out of the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., and he was expected to compete in preseason camp for a starting job.

Vanderbilt's signing class earlier this year, the third under Franklin, was rated No. 19 nationally by Rivals.com and Scout.com. The class came on the heels of the 2012 Commodores going 9-4, with the nine wins marking the most for the program since 1915.

Franklin could be joined by LSU's Les Miles as league coaches fielding difficult questions regarding off-field troubles.

Suspended LSU tailback Jeremy Hill, who led the Tigers last season with 755 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, pleaded guilty last Friday to misdemeanor simple battery for his role in an April altercation outside a Baton Rouge bar. Hill already was on probation on the charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, which he received in January 2012.

His battery charge while on probation could result in a six-month jail sentence, and several national media members have questioned Miles for not dismissing Hill before now.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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