Lane Kiffin didn’t officially call it a dismissal.
Brent Vinson is now claiming his departure from Tennessee never should have been considered one in the first place.
The first-year UT coach and the former cornerback don’t appear to exactly agree on the circumstances surrounding the end of Vinson’s career at UT, though the latter presented his case in a radio interview with The Sports Animal on Tuesday. It might be merely a battle over semantics at this point since Vinson isn’t angling for a return, but the junior made his feelings on the issue quite clear either way.
“I know I’ve created bad images in the beginning and the type of situation I put myself in,” Vinson said. “But I haven’t been in any trouble for me to be dismissed or all those media things that came out that said I was dismissed.
“I just want the truth to be said. That’s all I want is for what’s right to be done.”
Leading up to his announced absence from the program on Dec. 17, that would have meant a release for Vinson to transfer in good standing from the Vols.
Instead what he got on his birthday was a flood of stories reporting his dismissal and a brief quote from Kiffin, neither of which meshed with a reported conversation the two had a week before when Vinson inquired about his role with UT.
“I went to talk to coach Kiffin to ask him exactly what were his future plans for me, and if I wasn’t going to get an opportunity to be able to play that I would like to transfer to another school,” Vinson said. “I talked to him about some character issues that I’ve created for myself, and we had an understanding that I was going to be able to transfer and I was going to get released in good standing when we met.
“(After the story came out) I talked to him and I sent him text messages and asked him what was going on. I talked to him about how that wasn’t what we talked about, it’s not what we discussed in our meeting the week before. He told me that he didn’t release a statement and he said that he only said one quote, which was that I was no longer with the football team and he wishes me the best of luck. That’s all he said that he released in the media, and he said he can’t control everybody on the Internet or the things that they put out. He told me that he never said that I was dismissed from the team.”
Kiffin technically didn’t in fact, and that stayed in line with his approach to discipline throughout the season.
UT didn’t address possible suspensions during the week until after a game, didn’t publicly give specifics about punishments and dealt with nearly every situation almost exclusively behind closed doors. That often left plenty of room for speculation, and in Vinson’s case academics were rumored to be the leading cause for a dismissal.
Vinson has also admitted to failing a drug test in the past and has been on academic probation, but neither drugs nor grades appear to have been the problem this time.
“I love UT and I love the fans, I’m happy about my friends that I’ve made here and even the experiences that I’ve had involving (former) coach (Phillip) Fulmer also,” Vinson said. “It made me appreciate coach Fulmer a lot more for me experiencing the situation this year being at UT.
“But I’m not bitter about anything, because I’ve created some problems for myself and I know that I have to work on fixing them, and that’s all I was trying to do. That’s why I want people to know that I wasn’t dismissed and that I was in good standing. I’ve been on academic probation, but I wasn’t dismissed from school.”
No matter what anybody calls it though, it’s certain Vinson won’t be back now.