KNOXVILLE -- One University of Tennessee football player has been dismissed from the program and two suspended indefinitely in connection with an early Friday morning nightclub brawl near campus.
A 1:50 a.m. fight at Bar Knoxville involving UT players ended with two men -- one an off-duty police officer -- knocked unconscious.
"Our standard of conduct is much greater than what the legal standard is," first-year Volunteers Coach Derek Dooley said Friday night. "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."
Sophomore safety Darren Myles Jr. was dismissed from the program after being charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, evading arrest and public intoxication, Mr. Dooley said in a statement. Sophomore linebacker Greg King and sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls -- who haven't been charged -- were suspended indefinitely.
Freshman wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers also was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in connection with the fight. Mr. Dooley did not mention Mr. Rogers in any statement made Friday.
Mr. Rogers, a standout wide receiver at Calhoun High School in North Georgia, was one of the most highly recruited wide receivers in the nation and he was named Times Free Press area football player of the year at last month's Best of Preps banquet.
He led Calhoun to the Georgia Class AA state championship game the past two seasons and was considered one of the top prospects in the nation.
In June 2009, he committed to play for the University of Georgia, but on signing day in February he changed his mind and signed with Tennessee, disappointing many Bulldog fans.
Both Mr. Myles and Mr. Rogers were released Friday on bond from the Knox County Detention Facility, but neither could be reached for comment.
UT senior wide receiver Denarius Moore, sophomore defensive tackle Montori Hughes, junior defensive tackle John Brown, freshman wide receiver Matt Milton and others were named in reports or questioned by authorities.
Mr. Hughes on Friday retained noted Knoxville attorney Gregory P. Isaacs, who issued a statement on behalf of the player.
"Montori is a fine student-athlete that was the victim of an unprovoked assault," Mr. Isaacs said. "Montori has not been interviewed by law enforcement. We don't anticipate that any charges are forthcoming, and significantly, Mr. Montori Hughes does not have any personal knowledge about events that took place outside the establishment."
The brawl began when "an unknown patron" of the bar attacked Mr. Hughes "without provocation," Mr. Isaacs told the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said 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.
Mr. DeBusk said police hoped to interview the alleged assault victims by Friday night.
"We want to move as quickly as possible ... but also as cautiously as possible," he said. "We've still got a lot of potential suspects and witnesses to contact."
Mr. Myles has been in trouble before. He was arrested in the early morning following UT's April 18 Orange and White game and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Officers "observed Myles being drunk and disorderly and riding on the hood of a vehicle in the parking lot" of a Knoxville nightclub, according to the incident report.
Mr. Myles was allowed back on the team, and Mr. Dooley at the time chose to discipline him internally without suspending him for any games.
The police incident report from Friday claimed that off-duty Officer Robert Capouellez was injured with a "head wound" after trying to break up a fight between one unidentified man and several UT football players. Police hadn't identified the man by Friday afternoon because his "next of kin" hadn't been contacted.
Officer Capouellez and the unidentified bar patron were taken to UT Medical Center for treatment. Officer Capouellez was taken to the emergency room but later was listed in stable condition and given his own room, according to hospital and police officials.
Bar Knoxville co-owner Sandy Morton told the Times Free Press that "seven to 10" UT football players were involved in the fight.
Mrs. Morton said the fight started inside but spread outside, and it ended with an off-duty police officer knocked unconscious on Cumberland Avenue.
UT football players get "VIP status" at the club, which means they get in free, she said. Once inside, some players "had a falling out with another gentleman. I don't know why," she said.
"Several of the guys started beating up the other customer," she said. "My husband saw them picking up bar stools and starting to swing them."
Bar security pushed the fighters outside, where an off-duty police officer was standing, Mrs. Morton said.
"He tried to help, and he ended up getting knocked out in the street and proceeded to be kicked while he was down on the ground in the middle of Cumberland," she said.
Mrs. Morton said she interviewed several witnesses but hadn't determined what started the fight.
"There was blood. There was ripped shirts. It took pretty much all my security to get them out," she said.
Mrs. Morton said her establishment has had some "small" problems with UT football players in the past involving dress code and underage drinking.
"They'll try to come in without ID, but we're very strict on ID," she said. "We've had small occasions where we've had to throw a couple of them out for underage drinking. ... That's the typical problems we've had, but we've never had a fight. This is our first, and it will be our last."