Hamilton says UT investigation goes on

Hamilton says UT investigation goes on

July 11th, 2010 by Wes Rucker in Sportscollege

KNOXVILLE -- University of Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton said Saturday afternoon that no new major developments had surfaced from his department's investigation into an early Friday morning bar fight featuring multiple UT football players that sent two patrons to the hospital.

"Obviously, I'm sure there will be an official police report filed at some point, and we'll continue to conduct our own investigation, and we'll go from there," Hamilton said.

Sophomore safety Darren Myles was dismissed from the program after his second arrest this offseason -- this time for simple assault, evading arrest, resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Freshman wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers from Calhoun (Ga.) High School also was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but he wasn't among the three Volunteers first-year UT coach Derek Dooley cited Friday night as having been disciplined.

Sophomore linebacker Greg King and sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls have not been charged in the incident, but Dooley suspended both indefinitely.

"Our standard of conduct is much greater than what the legal standard is," Dooley said. "I know what's right and wrong. I know when you're charged with something, that doesn't necessarily mean you did something terrible. And I know when you're not charged with something, you can still do something really not good from a judgment standpoint. I'm always going to navigate it with that standard in mind.

"The guys that didn't do what's right are going to have to take some consequences, and the consequences that they take are going to be relative to their lapse in judgment and how wrong they were, and the damage that was done.

"It does appear odd, I guess, when you see it, but I can only go by my initial conversations with the players. They were very forthcoming -- as I expected them to be -- and hopefully humbled in many ways."

Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk said Friday there was a "strong possibility" more charges would stem from the incident, but the size and scope of the investigation prevented him from being more specific.

The KPD incident report said off-duty KPD officer Robert Capouellez received a "head wound" after trying to break up a fight between one unidentified man and several UT football players. Capouellez was still being treated at UT Medical Center as of Saturday afternoon. The unidentified man also was sent to the hospital after sustaining several injuries but was released, according to the report.

"We want to move as quickly as possible ... but also as cautiously as possible," DeBusk said Friday.

Hamilton on Saturday said UT was "obviously disappointed" with the incident, but the athletic director praised Dooley's handling of the situation to this point.

"He's been proactive," Hamilton said. "I can tell you his mind and heart are in the right place in terms of moving this program forward in the right way."

'VIP' investigation

Hamilton said school representatives have scheduled an appointment to speak with Bar Knoxville owners about some of their comments to the Times Free Press on Friday.

Co-owner Sandy Morton said UT football and men's basketball players were given "VIP" treatment at the establishment.

"They're on a first-name basis with my husband (and co-owner), and they get VIP status, which means they pay no cover at the door," Morton said. "We're a UT nightclub, business and restaurant. We've always treated the football players and basketball players alike. We've always treated them highly, because we're a UT gameday headquarters. Basketball and football players have always been VIPs.

"We've never had a problem with the basketball players. We're on good terms with them ... and never have any issues out of them. This was the first big incident with football players."

That treatment almost certainly would be considered an extra benefit -- and therefore an NCAA violation.

"Any time we're made aware of any potential violation, regardless of the source or where it comes from, we want to deal with that as proactively as possible," Hamilton said. "We've had situations in the past similar to what was alluded to yesterday."

Hamilton referenced an incident when a local sandwich shop gave free food to UT football players. While he didn't specifically connect the two events, he outlined the standard operating procedure for dealing with a similar situation. After identifying any players given free services, UT would notify the NCAA, send a cease-and-desist letter to the offending company and order its players to make financial restitution to charity. If the NCAA felt satisfied that UT had no prior knowledge of the offense, it would likely be considered a minor violation.

"But those assumptions would be a little far-fetched at this point," Hamilton added. "We haven't had time to ask all the questions and get all the answers, obviously."

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