Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said Monday there will be a zero-tolerance level for future gun-and-drug related incidents similar to those committed by players on the Vols' football and basketball teams during the past two months.
Two UT football players were dismissed after an alleged attempted armed robbery involving a pellet gun in November, and four basketball players have been indefinitely suspended after being charged with various misdemeanor drug and weapons offenses after a traffic stop Friday.
"Our tolerance for these type of activities has gone to zero,'' Hamilton said. "I've been very angry over the last few days as we've dealt with this process, and frankly, the anger is still there.
"I want to make the kinds of decisions that are fair to the student athletes and fair to the university, and make those decisions not out of emotion, but out of clear thought.''
Hamilton said he spoke with the four basketball players involved in Friday's incident: Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins.
The players' mood was "somber, apologetic, embarrassed, matter of fact . . . humbled,'' according to Hamilton, who met with them as a group.
Hamilton said he also will meet with UT coaches to discuss how the athletic department will move forward and address the specifics in its policies and handbook.
"I've had one conversation with Coach (Bruce) Pearl, and I've told Coach (Lane) Kiffin when he gets off the road this week (recruiting) I'm going to visit with him about it,'' Hamilton said. "We have our regularly scheduled coaches' staff meetings on Wednesday morning this week and we'll be talking about it at that point.''
Hamilton said the coaches' input will be taken into consideration.
"In that process we are going to want to gauge our coaches' reactions and our coaches' thoughts,'' he said. "They are the ones recruiting these student-athletes . . . it's important they take part in how we manage this and go forward.''
Hamilton said the four basketball players will remain suspended as the information-gathering process continues.
"We want to talk to all the right people and proceed in the right manner,'' Hamilton said. "I want to reiterate again, these are indefinite suspensions.
"For me, that means we start at dismissal and work our way backwards - it doesn't mean we start at one game and work our way forward.''