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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.
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 email@example.com or 423-757-6524.