Brown cleared by NCAA; no penalties for freshman tailback

Top freshman prospect Bryce Brown makes a breakaway run during the University of Tennessee football team's first official practice.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Top freshman prospect Bryce Brown makes a breakaway run during the University of Tennessee football team's first official practice.

Tennessee’s football team needed a lift. Then the NCAA stepped in.

“The best news of the day is Bryce Brown has been cleared,” head coach Lane Kiffin said, recounting his announcement to his team before the final period of Wednesday’s practice.

Kiffin received the news midway through practice from athletic director Mike Hamilton, who made his way to Haslam Field to share the NCAA’s final ruling on UT’s freshman tailback.

Brown, who was rated the No. 1 tailback prospect in the country and has been a standout in preseason camp, drew the NCAA’s attention for trips he took to college campuses during his sophomore season at Wichita (Kan.) East High School. Brown took the trip along with other eventual Division I-A signees but he was singled out for punishment. The investigation, which began in February and concluded last month, had nothing to do with UT’s or any other school’s recruitment of Brown.

Kiffin said the original penalty that UT appealed was a four-game suspension and a significant financial penalty to repay the travel costs.

“His penalties were waived,” Kiffin said. “He’ll miss no games and owes no money. So I think that’s a heckuva deal by the NCAA to get it done right and get it done with a sense of urgency. We’re very grateful for that.”

Kiffin commended associate athletic director for compliance Brad Bertani for helping UT and Brown work through the process, which required investigation into Brown’s trips and what — if any — knowledge he had of the funding.

“By no means was it something that Bryce was doing knowingly that would be wrong,” Kiffin said. “He was just part of the group and was actually younger than most of the other guys (taking the trips).”

Kiffin said providing prospects with the means to travel to college campuses is common and offers players a chance to better themselves.

“People or towns assist players as they grow up,” Kiffin said.

Kiffin declined to specify how much money Brown was originally asked to repay. But when Kiffin was asked if the figure was in the thousands, he said, “Up there.”

Kiffin said he surmised that Brown’s grade-point average — a 3.6 in high school and a 3.7 while at UT — helped his cause, as did a letter he wrote to the NCAA.

“He did a phenomenal job with the letter late last week,” Kiffin said. “He wrote a very detailed, long letter about the experience and about him and what he’s gone through.”

Kiffin said he also visited with the NCAA to strengthen Brown’s case.

“Without going into too much detail, I had some conversations with the NCAA and I felt they were going to get things right,” Kiffin said. “I spent time explaining who this kid is and what he’s about, how this is not a kid that should be punished for something like this.

“... I don’t know what were the final factors except for it’s what’s right. In the end, they got it right, that he shouldn’t be punished. He didn’t do something knowingly wrong. I’m very excited about that and I think that says a lot about the system.”

Kiffin said he hadn’t limited Brown’s practice snaps because he was optimistic the appeal would work.

“We were just playing all along as if he was going to be there,” Kiffin said.

Kiffin said last week that the Vols would eventually have to limit Brown’s practice time to get other players ready if the appeal drug on too long.

Kiffin wasn’t sure how his team would react when he told them of the decision. Admittedly, it was a tired, worn-down team that Kiffin said was feeling sorry for itself in the waning days of preseason camp.

The Vols certainly seemed rejuvenated by the news, letting out cheers that could be heard a block away.

“They were tired but you could tell they really like him a lot and were really happy for him,” Kiffin said. “Part of that is because he’s going to be a great player but I think a lot of that is because of who he is.”

Yet there was a more private moment that Kiffin also remembered. It came when he put his arm around Brown and informed him of the good news.

“His smile today, when I told him going into that last period ... it was pretty neat to see,” Kiffin said. “He was pretty excited.”

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 110

bigorange61 writes:

Well get on with it.

Joevolsxtra writes:

When's practice over?

Vols033 writes:

Some guy called in on sports talk and said he heard from a good source that bryce had no suspension and no restitution to pay. He sounded legit too, not like most of the callers.

give_him_6 writes:

Please...please...please..

behuman13 writes:

in response to Vols033:

Some guy called in on sports talk and said he heard from a good source that bryce had no suspension and no restitution to pay. He sounded legit too, not like most of the callers.

I really hope you're right.

I would for him to sit out a few games, can't wait to see him run all over those Hilltoppers on Sept. 5th

Cyclopskiller writes:

Ahhh the anticipation.....

Fingers crossed!!!!!!!!!

Major_Magilicutty writes:

gotta love the pre-season entertainment.

cmoore7 writes:

NCAA is more concerned w/ the Julio Jones-Mark Ingram fishing trip now.

Ironcity writes:

in response to cmoore7:

NCAA is more concerned w/ the Julio Jones-Mark Ingram fishing trip now.

They should be. I have to laugh when this guy says he didn't know they were on Alabama's team.

EHSvols23 writes:

So does anyone know when practice is over ?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

They should be. I have to laugh when this guy says he didn't know they were on Alabama's team.

Sgt Schultze said, "I know nothing".

BigOrangeJeff writes:

in response to Rok_Etop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude, give it a rest already. How many times have you posted this? Is she your daughter or something?

utmichael20#546617 writes:

how dramatic...

4umtroll writes:

Know for a fact he was cleared today

GrnEyedBanditTN writes:

Just got a text... Bryce Brown has been cleared!!!

behuman13 writes:

I'm really hoping practice ends at 7...

behuman13 writes:

in response to GrnEyedBanditTN:

Just got a text... Bryce Brown has been cleared!!!

Text from who?
Reliable?

TennesseeTuxedo writes:

Bryce Brown is free.

Phowell23 writes:

Yes Brown cleared, no suspensions, no money has to be paid back. NCAA found him clean.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to GrnEyedBanditTN:

Just got a text... Bryce Brown has been cleared!!!

How credible is the source?

SeanJean writes:

Woohoo!!!! Look out Western Kentucky!

GrnEyedBanditTN writes:

in response to behuman13:

Text from who?
Reliable?

A co-worker, who's younger brother works in football office, hit me with the text a few mins ago.

GrnEyedBanditTN writes:

in response to behuman13:

Text from who?
Reliable?

A co-worker, whose younger brother works in football office, hit me with the text a few mins ago.

behuman13 writes:

Great News!!!

GatorHater326 writes:

LETS GET READY TO RRRRRUUUUUUMMMMMMBBBBBLLLLLEEEE!

oldorange writes:

Go VOLS!!!!!!!

givehim6 writes:

Hope for no suspension. but could live with suspension of first game. That way he could warm up against UCLA before playing UF.

ctownvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah. A pack of female dogs, and we all know what a female dog is called.

cycles12 writes:

GO VOLS!!! GO BRYCE!!!

ldisavol4life writes:

Praise the Lord and Go Vols.

UTfan4life2 writes:

I got the text from Brent Hubbs at Volquest.

You should really sign up.

MemphisVol writes:

SWEET! Go Vols Go!!!!!

ChattaVegasVol writes:

Where are all the lopers that said he was gonna loose his amature status and bring down the program ect. ect. ect. . . ect. . .?

Hounddog writes:

LET"S PLAY FOOTBALL! HOUNDDOG.

givehim6 writes:

Just posted my comment, then went back to go vols to WOW HE'S FREE! GO VOLS!

Millisa writes:

Yay!!! Go Vols!!!

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

Great news...now lets hope his hip injury is not as serious as some would lead us to believe. Any of you FLA panhandle Vol fans know if the WKU game will be on the local affiliate for ESPN down there? Gotta get one last beach trip in for the summer, but CAN'T miss the opener!!

behuman13 writes:

in response to WhiteHotBleedOrange:

Great news...now lets hope his hip injury is not as serious as some would lead us to believe. Any of you FLA panhandle Vol fans know if the WKU game will be on the local affiliate for ESPN down there? Gotta get one last beach trip in for the summer, but CAN'T miss the opener!!

Same here, Going to be in the Destin area, It's gotta be on somewhere...

madcountyvol writes:

in response to WhiteHotBleedOrange:

Great news...now lets hope his hip injury is not as serious as some would lead us to believe. Any of you FLA panhandle Vol fans know if the WKU game will be on the local affiliate for ESPN down there? Gotta get one last beach trip in for the summer, but CAN'T miss the opener!!

So is this game going to be brodcasted on locals like a Raycom game was?

smashmouth98 writes:

oh yea, let the STUD out of the Stable!!!

madcountyvol writes:

Can't wait to see this kid run all over WK!!! V.......O..........L........S.....VOLS GO VOLS GO!!!!

Vols4Ever writes:

Good to see the PD Huffs and Tn Tux around again.

This is great news. For John Adams to even mention BB in the same article as Chuck Webb is special. Webb of the Cobb/Webb attack was, at the least, one of the top 5 backs EVER to play in Neyland and just as a freshman. He only got to play for a year due to an blown out knee but he was special. If not hurt, Give the Ball to Jamal would only, at best, be a minor refrain to CWs #s.

I only hope JA is 1/2 right in his analysis.

TurboVol writes:

Can i get an A-MEN

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

in response to madcountyvol:

So is this game going to be brodcasted on locals like a Raycom game was?

Yes, only it will be done by ESPN with their new SEC contract. I know here in the ATL it will be on Peachtree TV, who used to carry Raycom/JP games. I sure hope the quality of ESPN broadcasts is a helluva lot better that Raycom!!

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

in response to behuman13:

Same here, Going to be in the Destin area, It's gotta be on somewhere...

Destin it is!! Surely there would be enough of us Vol fans to meet a local watering hole to have a "Vol Watch Party." We used to have some legendary ones in Atlanta.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

Lord I can't wait till WKU! I've been anxious to see what kind of burst Brown has, the moves Oku has, and the quicks of Richardson! Not to mention I just really wanna see Hughes manhandle an O-lineman! GO VOLS!

99PairsOfJortsOnTheWall writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Odoyle, I got a feeling your whole family's goin down."

tigervol77 writes:

Let the fun begin!!! I just hope I can get the game on TV here in SC. Supposedly it will be on WIS channel 10. At least that is what I found on Directv.com. Any other SC peeps know if this is true???

dvhill100 writes:

Excellent news. Now the young man can do what he signed to do, play football.

Had replays of ESPN College Football Live and discussed head shots by defensive backs and the NCAA stopping it. Berry was featured twice.

the10sevol writes:

no bama trolls here tonight, i guess they're all pulling their nose hairs out over this (second story, after bryce, of course). fishing may be the least of their worries, if "half the squad" received gifts...
GBO

http://www.3sib.com/

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