My first reaction was anger, real anger. But I've learned that you should always try not to make an immediate decision on emotion. As almost always happens, you are able to get more facts and then you're able to make better decisions.
Mike Hamilton, UT Athletic Director
Bruce Pearl spent Sunday preparing his Tennessee basketball team to play against Charlotte without four suspended players facing drug and gun charges.
His boss, men's athletic director Mike Hamilton, spent part of his day evaluating whether the UTAD has done all it could to nip this sort of unsavory activity in the bud.
Pearl said after Sunday's practice he had no new details on the misdemeanor charges resulting from a Friday traffic stop that caused him to suspend Tyler Smith, Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams.
"We are preparing to not have them for Charlotte,'' Pearl said in reference to Wednesday's game.
"As we gather more information we'll be able to determine how long the suspensions will last.''
The four players were in a car stopped for speeding by the Knoxville Police Department. Two guns and a bag of marijuana were found in the vehicle.
Pearl informed Hamilton of the incident Friday as Hamilton was driving back from the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
Hamilton said Sunday he and Pearl have had several conversations about the incident and its repercussions.
"My first reaction was anger, real anger,'' Hamilton said. "But I've learned that you should always try not to make an immediate decision on emotion.
"As almost always happens, you are able to get more facts and then you're able to make better decisions.''
Pearl indicated the fact-finding process is complicated because it involves the KPD and attorneys representing the players.
Hamilton said that shouldn't hinder the UTAD in determining what it needs to know to take disciplinary action.
"They (the players) have their own personal obligations to protect,'' Hamilton said, "but they have a different level of accountability to Bruce and the university because this is a privilege to play here. It's not a right.
"They have to come clean with us in what their situations are.''
Possession of a gun on campus is a violation of university policy, Hamilton said. Many student-athletes, however, live off campus.
Coming less than two months after a gun-related incident involving UT football players, Hamilton is concerned about public perception.
"This is not an indication,'' he said, "of what the lion's share of our student-athletes are about.''
He planned a "round-table discussion" with staff members Sunday night to review what the UTAD is doing to educate its athletes to their responsibilities.
"These are some guys who made some very bad decisions,'' he said. "I feel very comfortable in telling you we're very diligent in how we go about our business.
"Even with that being said, these are the kind of times when you have to tighten down the screws and say, 'What else can we be doing?' ''