UT adopts zero-tolerance policy for guns and drugs

Hamilton will meet with coaches

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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.''

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Comments » 195

dvols writes:

fully agreed, unless they can run real fast, catch or shoot a ball!

govols26 writes:

Think Hammy is starting to feel the heat?? Its about time they do this.

fronix5000 writes:

Finally! Good to hear they are looking deeply into this. I'm sure it will get fixed. GBO

Bigger_Al writes:

I am in New Zealand, and when I walked thru the lobby on Sunday, ESPN Australia had our logo up there with the reporter spilling the bad news. A screwup of global proportions...

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

Although dismissal is an option that I could not argue with, I don't know if that's the way I would go. I would be tempted to try something like suspending them for the remainder of the season and suspending their schollies for the same length of time.
I think this would send the message that this type behavior will not be tolerated. Having to get a job and work their way through for a semester or two may make them appreciate what they had. It would also keep them close enough to the team for them to see how their actions effected others. It would also be a constant reminder to others that there are consequences.
Of course, they could decide to quit and move on but if they did, then it would probably be safe to think they would not have learned anything by this anyway.

vol2004 writes:

I think it should be mandatory that all the players get there handgun carry permit

DownTheField writes:

why should ut adopt a different policy than every other university? we should not put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage imo

tractoronthepole writes:

in response to DownTheField:

why should ut adopt a different policy than every other university? we should not put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage imo

If you were a parent of an athlete UT was recruiting would this policy put us at a disadvanatage for recruiting your son or at an advantage? Think about it.

utvolz#637682 writes:

Agree with the concept of starting FIRST with dismissal and working your way backwards....it should be an honor and privilege for these young men and women to wear the Orange of our beloved University.

utforus3 writes:

You have got to be kidding me. Why is there not already a zero-tolerance policy at UT? These guys are playing a game and getting a free education. Understand sports make money for the school but come on. And yes, Mike should be angry. About time he shows it. Boot them and anyone else that breaks the law. There are good kids that play sports, just go get them.

secsecsec writes:

in response to DownTheField:

why should ut adopt a different policy than every other university? we should not put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage imo

This kind of behavior- guns, drugs, etc is ALREADY putting UT at a competitive disadvantage. There should have ALREADY been a zero tolerance policy for drugs and guns- but this is a great, public step by Hamilton.

NorthwestVol writes:

First paragraph says "zero-tolerance". Later Hamilton said the coaches "input will be taken into consideration." What does that mean?

Thier input better darn well concur.

King_Scuba writes:

This is not a good way of handling future problems. Zero tolerance sounds like anything involving guns or drugs will be grounds for dismissal. To clarify, does that mean failed drug tests would be included here, or only brushes with the law? Hamilton's statement contradicts itself in that he claims he doesn't want to make decisions out of emotion, yet he admitted to still being angry over the situation. I just hope Hamilton is trying to do what's best for the University, student athletes, and fans and is not just responding to the immediate pressure he has on him. Maybe this particular situation is grounds for dismissal, but I don't know that it should be lumped in with future problems that cannot even be foreseen.

ArmyDad writes:

If legislators can make tax increaes retroactive, then why can't Mike Hamilton make this policy retroactive and dismiss the 4 like should be done?

Ironcity writes:

My guess is Hammy is talking about Guns more then the weed. If its not addressed in the handbook then it should be. I know most of you don't agree but I have an issue with 4 people being charged in regards to two guns. It would seem to me that each gun belonged to someone and that someone should be held to higher level of punishment.

Its also interesting that Tatum did not get charged with DUI or Speeding (which is why they were pulled over in the first place). Its also interesting in that no one ever gets a ticket for going 70 or less in that area of I40. Not defending these guys but it sounds a little fishy to me.

whippersnapper writes:

in response to tractoronthepole:

If you were a parent of an athlete UT was recruiting would this policy put us at a disadvanatage for recruiting your son or at an advantage? Think about it.

good post tractor

secsecsec writes:

in response to utforus3:

You have got to be kidding me. Why is there not already a zero-tolerance policy at UT? These guys are playing a game and getting a free education. Understand sports make money for the school but come on. And yes, Mike should be angry. About time he shows it. Boot them and anyone else that breaks the law. There are good kids that play sports, just go get them.

My thoughts exactly- why wasn't there already a zero tolerance policy for guns and drugs? Totally inexcusable not to have already had that policy. I sure hope that this isn't just a smoke screen- but that this policy will actually mean that the offender is kicked off the team. One bad apple spoils the bunch- we don't need bad apples.

utforus3 writes:

He is the AD. He can. He decided not to make it retro. I guess he hopes everyone has learned from others errors. HA!!!! There will be more. Clean it up now.

Psychovol writes:

Too little too late. Zero tolerance should have been enacted when Fulmer's troups were racking up the charges. UT doesn't need any gun toting drug doing recruits and not having them will be a competitive advantage.

utforus3 writes:

Or "If your kid comes to UT, we will work to keep them out of trouble. But, if they tote guns or sling dope, they leave". Don't know about you, but would rather my kid serve on tightly run ship than hanging out with a bunch of clowns that don't care about nothing but smokin dope and packing guns....

volsoutwest writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, You're saying ,"recruit the drug users and illegal gun carriers to UT at all costs?" We want this type we sure don't want Ala. and Flo. getting them if they are top recruits.

This way we can win no matter what. Right?

beachvol1 writes:

Sure they were humble....just like the inmate on death row would be....I say "let em go!!! Ten times rather play with kids that may have less talent but are good kids/students and not rapster prima-donnas...

great2batnvol writes:

It's about time!!! Shame it came to this but NO place for this garbage. I understand being young and wanting to have a good time and all but guns with serial numbers scratched off?: Are you kidding me! ABSOLUTELY nuts!

Underparvol writes:

in response to utforus3:

You have got to be kidding me. Why is there not already a zero-tolerance policy at UT? These guys are playing a game and getting a free education. Understand sports make money for the school but come on. And yes, Mike should be angry. About time he shows it. Boot them and anyone else that breaks the law. There are good kids that play sports, just go get them.

Amen, brother! About time someone said this!!!!!

thevoice writes:

in response to utforus3:

You have got to be kidding me. Why is there not already a zero-tolerance policy at UT? These guys are playing a game and getting a free education. Understand sports make money for the school but come on. And yes, Mike should be angry. About time he shows it. Boot them and anyone else that breaks the law. There are good kids that play sports, just go get them.

Evidently, good kids can't play sports well enough.

cumberlandVOL writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

if the recruits are the kind of people that carry guns illegally or carry around drugs with them, WE DON'T WANT THEM! apparently all you care about are the W's- you care nothing for pride and the representation of the university. this phooey is a prime example of how far athletics have fallen in this country. anything to win, huh, BrisVol?

utforus3 writes:

Oh, the good kids are out there. Just spend the time to look for them. I am all for and do love the stories of kids having bad upbringing and doing good. But, if they don't want to better themselves, I don't want to see the time wasted on them. These young people are given a great chance to do great things.

WereInTrouble writes:

The result of that rogue coach Foolmer.His mafia Godfather status is still felt at UT.

bmcreynolds#558786 writes:

Somber - Tatum
Apolgetic - Goins
Embarrassed - Smith
Matter of Fact - Williams

utforus3 writes:

I don't know who is to blame and it really doesn't matter. It just needs to be fixed. There comes a time when enough is enough. Don't get me wrong. Game wins are great. Championships are great. But, if you accomplish them without core values, they don't mean a lot. My look at it.

Voluvr writes:

Good job Mike, now back it up with action. That's the only thing that works.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This decision should not be based on how other schools, fans, or the media will spin it.
This is a no win situation publicity wise.
Zero tolerance and automatic suspensions equal U.T does not recognize that young people make mistakes/will not support the youngster or give second chances.
Short suspensions will be turned into U.T equals University of Thugs.
Mr. Hamilton needs to make this decision based on the best interest of the school, not how the opposition will spin it.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BrisVol,
And as that parent in the great room with Satan (aka Saban) I would say, 'Satan thanks for coming by, but it sounds like Alabama is going to be real trouble for my son and/or daughter'. 'I hope I have taught him or her better than what you are suggesting will be allowed at AL'. AND before you start telling us about the Hood or Single Moms, it's been my experience those great single Moms want and demand a straight and narrow for their sons or daughters!

If UT and Mike don't clean this up now, we won't have to worry about Top 10 recruiting classes!

huntined#565710 writes:

New HONOR SYSTEM AT UT
yes your HONOR, no your HONOR..

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

Ham says that he is very angry but not wanting to make decisions out of emotions. Hum... Has anyone even asked the players WHY they had the guns? If I were Ham, I would unemotionally ask that question until I got a straight answer, even if it took months and even if the straight answer turned out to be a really dumb answer.

Sovol writes:

If they had no problems in high school, how do you know they will in college. You are taking a chance on any one you recruit.I don't know if it would be possible to do background checks on all your recruits.

HallowedHill writes:

UT should be commended on their strong stance against these types of crimes. If we don't want it in our neighborhood, we shouldn't tolerate it on our campus. It's sad what these boys have done to their dreams, but if they're lucky, they'll use these experiences to turn their lives around and in the process, become men.

SATCHMOE writes:

I can't believe the people that cried for things to be done are now complaining its gonna hurt us in recruiting.This will only help in letting each recruit know before coming in whats expected of them to be apart of the best.The Big Orange will not put up with or pay the way to those who choose to break the law

Ringside writes:

Zero tolerance should had been in place when the great Pilot capper took place. Send them home.

mborovol writes:

Win at all costs! Let them play! Just win baby and we will forgive....

cc623 writes:

in response to AboveAllNations:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

57TexasVol writes:

at least we could recruit smart thugs that wouldn't get caught

whippersnapper writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If he's gonna be packing ,doping ,robbing and mugging he belongs at bammer

utforus3 writes:

Really. Who cares what Bama does? Or Urban? Set the standard. Be a leader. That is what Mike Hamilton, Lane and Bruce are paid to be...Leaders. Coach Pat leads. Her players don't get into trouble, they respect her and how she works.

borovol1956 writes:

In all matters that involve a felony charge, I am in favor of zero tolerance and immediate dismissal. For misdemeanors I think due legal process and then internal UT decision is the appropriate and fair course of action.

mborovol writes:

Hamilton is emotional right now....guns I understand, but weed? Thats like half the football team!

sandiegovolunteer writes:

Unfortunately this deal has nothing to do with the University of Tennessee. It has everything to do with today's society. Marijuana is actually increasing almost everywhere and might even be legalized at some point. Knives and guns are also pretty common among people in middle to lower class. Sadly many atheletes come from the middle and lower class and just can't get over the changes. While we take the responsibilty as a university- this is a problem that is much deeper than the Big Orange. It will happen again and again. TX just booted a receiver today for armed robbery. Get used to it- the good old days are gone.

cc623 writes:

in response to cc623:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

@the idiot here trying to bash Daniel Hood earlier and to add some missing info for him...

You obviously are not aware that this family member also wrote letters to the administration telling them of his innocence.I guess a raped family member would take the time to make sure a "rapist" got into UT for a college education and to play football right?

BIGEJ writes:

Was curious about other universities; looked up UNC Tarheels since I live 30 min from the campus (It's pure HEII, let me tell ya). They have a policy on their website stating how they dismiss or suspend and to what degree based on the crime. They continue to dismiss players of all races; their BB program looks to be somewhat successful.

PERSONAL CHOICE; the individual ultimately creates their fate by how they choose; example, I choose to live in NC near UNC Chapel Nill and I suffer the consequences.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First, I always enjoy your posts, W.D.
Second, I don't even go to bed in my on house without a .357 magnum Taurus revolver within easy reach.

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