UT Vols freshman Treyvon Paulk dropped after police say he punched ex-girlfriend

UT Vols freshman Treyvon Paulk dropped after police say he punched ex-girlfriend

September 23rd, 2014 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 file photo, Tennessee running back Treyvon Paulk practices in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee has dismissed running back Treyvon Paulk from the team following a police report that he hit a woman in the mouth at a party.

In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 file photo,...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE - His involvement in an alleged domestic assault over the weekend cost Treyvon Paulk his football career at the University of Tennessee.

Butch Jones, the Volunteers' second-year head coach, announced at his weekly news conference Monday that the freshman running back had been dismissed from the program for what he called a "personal conduct issue."

A couple of hours later, the Knox County Sheriff's Office shed more light on why.

At a party at Quarry Trail Apartments a couple of miles off Tennessee's campus, Paulk and his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Chelsea Reese, were talking and began to argue, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

During the argument, Paulk "became very agitated and struck her in the mouth with his fist," according to the report. The blow left Reese with cuts on her lips, but she refused medical treatment. Reese met with a detective from the sheriff's Family Crisis Unit on Sunday, and the office's forensic unit took pictures of her injuries.

However, Reese is refusing to prosecute or take out an order of protection, so Paulk faces no criminal charges.

That didn't keep Jones from handing out swift punishment for the 5-foot-8, 200-pound player.

"We hold our players to a very high standard and expectation with being a member of our football family," the coach said.

Less than a year removed from tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during his senior season at Milton High School in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Paulk was redshirting this season and practicing with the Vols' scout team.

He was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN.

The incident follows a rash of domestic violence incidents involving NFL players, most notably former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

After TMZ revealed footage this month of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator in an Atlantic City hotel in February, the Ravens quickly released the three-time Pro Bowler and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Two other stars, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, were deactivated by their teams last week amid assault incidents and mounting public pressure. Peterson is alleged to have abused his 4-year-old son with a switch, while Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening his former girlfriend in July.

Arizona running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on assault charges last week after allegedly head-butting his wife and breaking her nose in July and punching her a day later, and the Cardinals deactivated him from all team activities.

The Paulk situation is the second off-field incident Jones has faced since taking over at Tennessee after Derek Dooley was fired following the 2012 season. Two players were arrested on minor charges and multiple others were cited in connection with a party broken up by police in February. Dooley's tenure was marred by the infamous Bar Knoxville brawl in 2010 and Cam Clear's felony theft in 2012.

After announcing Paulk's dismissal, Jones said he would not elaborate on the situation or take any questions regarding it, but his quick decision showed his stance.

"Every circumstance is different, and I'm a father figure," Jones said when asked about handling discipline in his program. "Unfortunately, some incidents are out of my control, and some incidents you try to teach [from].

"We do a tremendous job in the overall growth and development of every individual in our football program with our Vol for Life program, our personal development and growth program," he said. "We spend an inordinate amount with outside speakers, using real-life illustrations and constantly having dialogue and talking about it."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.


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