UPDATE (4:05 p.m.): Tennessee announced on its official Twitter account that linebacker A.J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams have been suspended from all team-related activities.
UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): Darrell DeBusk, the Knoxville Police Department's public information officer, told the Times Free Press he doesn't expect the investigation to be completed today. Once the KPD finishes its investigation, it will turn it over to the district attorney's office. "At that point," he said, "they will look at the investigation and the facts that we have in the case, and then they'll make the decision on whether there should be charges filed and what those charges should be." DeBusk also doesn't expect to have the more detailed police report completed today.
KNOXVILLE - Two Tennessee football players are involved in the Knoxville Police Department's investigation into an alleged sexual incident that happened in the early-morning hours on Sunday.
According to a report citing anonymous sources, television station WBIR, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville, named star linebacker A.J. Johnson as one of two suspects in an ongoing investigation into an alleged rape and sexual assault reported by two 19-year-old women at the off-campus Woodlands apartment complex shortly before 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Butch Jones, in his second season as the coach of the Volunteers, said at his regular weekly news conference early Monday afternoon that he's still gathering information on the situation, though he did confirm the investigation did involve football players.
"I am aware of the alleged incident that occurred over this weekend, and right now we're in the process of gathering all the information," Jones said. "Once we have all that appropriate information, we will act in a very decisive manner, which we have proven over time to do here at the University of Tennessee. That's all that I'll comment on that situation."
In an email to the Times Free Press, Darrell DeBusk, the KPD's public information officer, confirmed that an investigation into an alleged sexual assault by two UT students is ongoing. The two suspects have been identified, but no charges have been filed.
"The names of the suspects cannot be released because they have not been charged," DeBusk said in the statement.
According to DeBusk, officers and investigators responded to the rape and sexual assault allegations shortly before 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. One victim said she was raped by two males, and a second female told police she had been sexually assaulted.
The first female is a UT student, while the second female was from out of state and visiting her friend. She elected not to prosecute "at this time" and returned to Florida, DeBusk said in the statement. A search warrant was conducted Sunday night on the apartment at the Woodlands.
Johnson, who was arrested on charges of resisting arrest and providing alcohol to minors in February when an off-campus party was broken up by police, is one of the Vols' senior leaders. The two-time All-SEC selection went over 100 tackles for the season -- the first Tennessee player to do that since the mid-1970s -- in Tennessee's 50-16 rout of Kentucky on Saturday.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is second in the SEC in tackles with 101.
Jones said players involved in ongoing investigations typically don't practice, but he said he is still evaluating if that will be the case with this alleged incident.
"Every situation is different in and of itself, so I say no, but I'm still going to gather the information," he said. "The thing I want to do is I want to be right rather than fast. We'll continue to gather information, and based on what we have at that particular time, we will determine whether or not they will practice. But if there is anything of it, then they won't practice.
"I think we've proven since we've been here that we're always going to act accordingly and we're going to act swiftly."
In September, Jones dismissed freshman running back Treyvon Paulk from the program after he was involved in a domestic assault incident during Tennessee's open date.
The Vols host Missouri, who is two wins away from reaching a second consecutive SEC championship game, on Saturday night, and a win would clinch the program's first bowl berth since 2010.
Jones was asked how he'd handle the topic of the alleged incident with his team.
"Every situation that occurs, just like in life, I treat it as a teaching opportunity, a teaching moment," he explained. "We spend an inordinate amount of time in that in our Vol for Life program, our character education program, all that. We'll discuss it, but it'll be business as usual.
"I'm not into speculation, but we talk about instances all the time, and it'll just be another point of contention, another point for emphasis, which it is all the time in our football program. We have a lot on the line. We're representing the state of Tennessee, Vol nation, the city of Knoxville, our student body, our fan base, our boosters, our alumni.
"We have a lot of positive momentum and energy right now, and we can't let that derail us."
More details and coverage as they develop at timesfreepress.com and in Tuesday's Times Free Press. Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com.