UT is looking into bar's 'VIP' treatment

Extra benefit would require restitution

Derek Dooley comments on Friday morning's violent bar brawl

If Bar Knoxville has been giving football players preferential treatment, the owners are now VIPs in a Tennessee internal investigation.

Early television and radio interviews given by the owners of the Cumberland Avenue club, hours after the brawl that produced arrests for two UT players, seemed to indicate they were supplying extra benefits by allowing them in without a cover charge, which could be an NCAA violation.

UT officials have already started looking into the matter and have requested a meeting with the business as part of the information-gathering process, athletic director Mike Hamilton confirmed late Friday night. There has been no exact time set yet according to Bar Knoxville co-owner Sandy Morton, but a critical part of the defense for both parties will be that the club waves the fee at the door for a list of "about 300 people."

The SEC office will not have anybody available to comment on the issue until Monday.

"It's really irritating because they're making us out to be the bad guys," Morton said. "We've got somewhere between 200 and 300 people that we consider VIPs that aren't athletes. All ladies are considered VIPs, which only means they don't have to pay a cover charge.

"The VIP is nothing that has anything to do with UT athletics."

That will be the main issue Hamilton and the UT compliance office will be looking at when it sits down with Morton, since granting the "VIP" treatment exclusively to athletes could create some trouble for the Vols with the NCAA. If the Vols were given a financial break others don't get - which Morton strongly denied - then UT would need to figure out how often it was used, how much it was worth and which players were taking advantage of it. From there, the players may have to pay some sort of restitution and UT may also need to self-report a secondary violation of NCAA rules for extra benefits.

According to NCAA Bylaw 16.11.2.2.3, "a student-athlete may not receive services (e.g., movie tickets, dinners, use of car) from commercial agencies (e.g., movie theaters, restaurants, car dealers) without charge or at reduced rates, or free or reduced-cost admission to professional athletics contests from professional sports organizations, unless such services also are available to the student body in general."

Assuming Bar Knoxville wasn't affording the general student population the same deal, Vols taking any VIP treatment will likely have been found to break that rule.

Morton indicated she had already been told her lengthy list of VIPs meant UT wasn't in danger of committing a violation, but either way the red carpet is about to be pulled out from under its athletes.

"When it comes to UT and the rules, I honestly didn't know anything about that being a violation - which I've been told is not in our case," Morton said. "But I've already told (Hamilton) all the players that were here are not welcome.

"And if we know they're athletes, we're done with that (VIP treatment)."

Until the matter is closed though, Bar Knoxville will still be on the guest list for UT officials.

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Comments » 48

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

Close the craphole down.

DooleysOrangePants writes:

guess where i WONT b going when i come to knoxvegas. idiots

dvols writes:

i say invesitgate the tuscaloosa police dept. just sayin... small town rednecks........keep it hush hush....fact

bones never lie

govols87 writes:

what a racist, ignorant git that dumb woman is...geez

BrandiVol writes:

in response to govols87:

what a racist, ignorant git that dumb woman is...geez

I can maybe agree with dumb for shooting her mouth off about VIP treatment to the media (although she was just telling the truth), but where did you get racist? I didn't see any racial remarks in the story.

mayhem writes:

in response to govols87:

what a racist, ignorant git that dumb woman is...geez

If you feel that way, how would you feel if I told you that all 8 football players were black and both the men that were beaten were white? Do you feel that is racist (although I don't think it was)? That would make more sense than what you said. Stupid!

chbradshaw writes:

<"When it comes to UT and the rules, I honestly didn't know anything about that being a violation - which I've been told is not in our case," Morton said. "But I've already told (Hamilton) all the players that were here are not welcome.>

Sandy, I strongly suspect UT ahtletics and athletes will be around here a lot longer than you and BarKnoxville. I would measure your shelf life in days or weeks. btw...UHaul rates are better on weekdays.

AsianView writes:

I think it's reasonable for most business owners to NOT be aware of NCAA regulations on college athletes. Waiving cover charges for selected customers is a normal nightclub business practice.

Responsibility should be on the athletes to know restrictions on receiving free gifts and services, and on the Athletic Dept to educate them.

If the AD has properly educated athletes on these NCAA regulations, and coaches have limited contact with the athletes and are not aware of free privileges, then it seems responsibility falls on the athlete.

AsianView writes:

Would the NCAA punish the football program when the Athletes knowingly break the rules, and the program has no reasonable way to know they are breaking the rules?

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to AsianView:

Would the NCAA punish the football program when the Athletes knowingly break the rules, and the program has no reasonable way to know they are breaking the rules?

Yes

collegegrad writes:

I agree, close Bar Knoxville down, put something else in there other than a bar or simply demolish the building since that place has been an eyesore for many years. You can't trust athletes (college or professional) anymore to do the right thing.

bristolvol writes:

5 people mentioned in the KNS reports of this incident were under the age of 21. Is this what Bar Knox. means by VIP treatment.

jenna1009001 writes:

I would think that part of the investigation should be done by State's ABC commission agents and that the license for that Bar will be pulled due to serving minors. They owner is now on record that they served minors and probably didn't even brother with ID checks. Andre Lott has a lot on his hands and needs to get his program in gear fast. My prayers are with the injured officer. This could quickly become a homicide case.

12Hours writes:

in response to AsianView:

I think it's reasonable for most business owners to NOT be aware of NCAA regulations on college athletes. Waiving cover charges for selected customers is a normal nightclub business practice.

Responsibility should be on the athletes to know restrictions on receiving free gifts and services, and on the Athletic Dept to educate them.

If the AD has properly educated athletes on these NCAA regulations, and coaches have limited contact with the athletes and are not aware of free privileges, then it seems responsibility falls on the athlete.

Sorry but you are wrong. It is very reasonable for the bar to know the rules. When you go into a business in a college town, you should find out the rules. Just like donors ave to know the rules of what contact they can and can't have with athletes.
Yes the student athlete should also know, but some of the rules are confusing. The athletes would have all the confusing rules to learn. The business needs to be 100% sure about rules that apply to their type business. ie: no free shoes from a sporting goods store.
Not defending the wrong behavior of an athlete in this or another case,but a business should know the rules!

ReasonableOne writes:

I see, It's the BARS's fault. Now I get it. It's the bars's fault for not knowing NCAA rules. I'm POSITIVE that if the bar had made the players pay the $5 cover charge, then they would have gone to church instead.

SavTnVol writes:

in response to jenna1009001:

I would think that part of the investigation should be done by State's ABC commission agents and that the license for that Bar will be pulled due to serving minors. They owner is now on record that they served minors and probably didn't even brother with ID checks. Andre Lott has a lot on his hands and needs to get his program in gear fast. My prayers are with the injured officer. This could quickly become a homicide case.

Good point..This is the first I've seen questioning the serving of alchol to minors. This should have been one of the first questions asked instead of whether the students were ball players or not..Andre, we'll miss you in Hardin County, but please, help CDD get the young men on track and help to keep them on the straight path..Good luck Andre

12Hours writes:

in response to ReasonableOne:

I see, It's the BARS's fault. Now I get it. It's the bars's fault for not knowing NCAA rules. I'm POSITIVE that if the bar had made the players pay the $5 cover charge, then they would have gone to church instead.

RO, THe fight and behavior of these students is not the bar's fault at all!!!
Th eonly fault of the bar would be if they gave VIP special benefits to NCAA players and then plead ignorance.
It would be like a contractor building a house with no permit and saying he didn't know one was required. It's on him to find out.
This part of the incident is totally seperate from the obvious fault of the players for their behavior.

GreeneVol_TN writes:

in response to jenna1009001:

I would think that part of the investigation should be done by State's ABC commission agents and that the license for that Bar will be pulled due to serving minors. They owner is now on record that they served minors and probably didn't even brother with ID checks. Andre Lott has a lot on his hands and needs to get his program in gear fast. My prayers are with the injured officer. This could quickly become a homicide case.

I am not saying minors were served or not, however there has been no mention of Bar Knoxville serving minors. Bar Knoxville is an 18 and over bar which means if you are under 21 you get an armband and the bartender is not supposed to serve you. That doesn't mean your 22 year old buddy isn't going to buy you a drink but it is one of the many ways establishments like this get around the law.

As far as a homicide case, that's rushing things just a bit. The officer is listed in serious "but stable" condition. I think this whole incident is ugly enough without trying to exaggerate the facts just yet.

I tend to agree with the approach of the athletic department. Let's do a thorough investigation, get all the facts, and then make good rational decisions. If there were easy answers these things would have been stopped long ago. Unfortunately college kids must have some sense of responsibility for their own actions and many have yet to deal with that before now.

OTPVol writes:

Nothing good comes from bars that mix alcohol and underage patrons. Not in Tennessee, not in Georgia, not in Alabama. No where.

Volz4life writes:

I can understand maybe her not knowing the rules, but her husband definitely should have (especially if he and his wife are on first name basis with the players).. Even the casual NCAA (football or any other sport) fan knows how strict the NCAA is about this kind of stuff, and they should know they cannot receive any "extra" benefits. Her husband should have been a man and taken control of the situation and not let her speak on TV.

mailbag writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It would have been really funny if DuhRick would have lost his britches while trying to run from the police. He is a fool and a lowly street thug as obviously a lot of these football players are.

virginiavolfan writes:

Post the name of the bar and boycott it.

cjones72 writes:

in response to mailbag:

It would have been really funny if DuhRick would have lost his britches while trying to run from the police. He is a fool and a lowly street thug as obviously a lot of these football players are.

I hate to tell you this but it wasnt darick rogers that ran from the cops it was darren miles that ran from them and hit the cop that caught him .

cjones72 writes:

in response to virginiavolfan:

Post the name of the bar and boycott it.

the name of the bar has been posted a million tomes it is called BAR KNOXVILLE .

Troll_Here writes:

Troll Here. Given the troubles at my own school (UF), I normally enjoy it when the negative spotlight gets shown on another school. However, I have to say that you guys have had enough bad stuff happen in the last year. I'm starting to get worried that you guys won't be the great rival that I've grown to love (or hate) over the past 20 years or so. You are already thin on talent, and now you're having to kick quality players off the team. If the NCAA comes sniffing around it may be years before we get back to playing big games against each other. It sucks!

realpacman writes:

in response to bristolvol:

5 people mentioned in the KNS reports of this incident were under the age of 21. Is this what Bar Knox. means by VIP treatment.

Can we pleas forget the whole "VIP treatment" argument? That's more an argument for the NCAA's rules, rather than against any actual law. What I would like to know is why was a bar allowing *anyone* under the age of 21 into their *bar*?

Colliervol writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good question Duke. I hear from numerous students up there that the place has been sketchy for quite awhile now. This might just be the death knell. I'm relatively certain that it will be off limits to all athletes from now on at the risk of their scholarships.

memphisrecruiting writes:

it's good UT is jumping on this early...an internal investigation now is better than an NCAA investigation later

rocky_topper writes:

Morton, you are a BIG MORON, IDIOT, and THE bad guy! If you don't understand NCAA rules, then you don't need to be on the strip. I can't wait to see the days when you close your doors. Everyone BOYCOTT this friggin DUMP!

rocky_topper writes:

Tne name of the bar/club/phooey hole is Bar Knoxville! It has checkerboard walls out in the front of it. Boycott it. If they don't know NCAA rules, then they do NOT need to be on the strip!

DaddyVol writes:

I DO NOT condone the actions of our players.

That said...

If Tim Tebow or Mark Ingram E-V-E-R drank a free coke, ate a free hamburger or hot dog, rode in a vehicle, or even flew for free in a plane provided by the Downtown Athletic Club of Manhattan...any product or service at all that other students at their respective university's are charged a price for...then they broke NCAA rules.

And if that is the case... then I STRONGLY believe there is SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE for an NCAA probe into their schools as well.

But on the other hand, when you are on a band scholarship, no such rule exists.

So maybe it is time for the NCAA to re-evaluate such a stupid rule (I can understand the rule for a recruit but not a student athlete already enrolled), and allow these athletes who cannot work jobs, to have the same rights and privileges as other students?

SandySpringsVol writes:

Everyone keeps talking about NCAA rules. However, the bar would appear to be in violation of state liquor laws by serving underage patrons. If that is the case, they should have their liquor license revoked, which will effectively shut them down.

NCVols writes:

in response to realpacman:

Can we pleas forget the whole "VIP treatment" argument? That's more an argument for the NCAA's rules, rather than against any actual law. What I would like to know is why was a bar allowing *anyone* under the age of 21 into their *bar*?

Bar Knoxville is 18 and up, so you are allowed to be there if you are under 21. However that being said it is widely known to students at UT that the police are called to break up fights there, or that started there, on a nearly weekly basis. They are also known to have bouncers and other security that many times go overboard and put people in the hospital themselves. The strip would be a much safer place if it was closed down.

However the players do need to take responsibility for their actions and for themselves and stay out of establishments that are known for problems.

volmattna writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That boy will run all over your boys just like we have for 25 years!! GO VOLS!!!

spvol writes:

If the bar was serving ANYONE under 21, take their license. Fine the owners. Close the doors.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to iamnotDCtoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, the bar owners didn't cause this, but that doesn't change the fact that Bar Knoxville is a dump. If you've ever been there, you'll know the reasons many of us think it should be closed down. Back in 2003 or 2004, I went to Bar Knoxville with one of my ex-girlfriends. She needed to run to the restroom, and I bumped into one of my buddies who was working the bar. When my ex-girlfriend meets me at the bar, she told me that she had been hit on by two 50 year old guys. She points them out, and I look up to see them staring us down like they had a problem. That was the last time I went until 2007 when I got kicked out for wearing sun-glasses. That place has always been filled with suspicious characters. You never hear about issues with Cool Beans or Hannah's. Bar Knoxville was always crawling with suspicious characters.

pdowned writes:

Hate to tell all you losers, but the bar can do anything it wants. Last I checked, UT wasn't instilled with any authority over private businesses. In fact, the bar owners don't even have to talk at all with UT if they don't want too. Fortunately, the NCAA has no authority over anyone but university members either.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to pdowned:

Hate to tell all you losers, but the bar can do anything it wants. Last I checked, UT wasn't instilled with any authority over private businesses. In fact, the bar owners don't even have to talk at all with UT if they don't want too. Fortunately, the NCAA has no authority over anyone but university members either.

I'm willing to bet that Bar Knoxville gets shutdown or changes ownership within the year. Haslam or somebody will get it done.

UTFISH writes:

How can a bar owner justify giving "VIP" status to individuals who can't legally buy alcohol? Most Footballers are underage. Doesn't make good business sense.

nonewsisgoodnews writes:

To all the 'necks bashing the bar for allowing 18 yr olds in and their VIP status: What friggin time capsule have you been living in?

There are several college town bars with underage entry. Been happening for years. Does it mean 18-20 year olds don't drink? No. Just that they're not supposed to drink.

Ya'll have allowed the VIP treatment to propagate by placing 19 yr old thugs on a pedestal because they can punt, pass and catch. No different than Paris Hilton being on the A-List in Hollywood. It just happens to be little ole K-town and a second rate bar with a VIP list for athletes and chicks.

I guess Duh-Rick won't be the "hot" name for kids on K-town anytime soon. Peyton's place in history still stands.

Momof3boys writes:

in response to AsianView:

I think it's reasonable for most business owners to NOT be aware of NCAA regulations on college athletes. Waiving cover charges for selected customers is a normal nightclub business practice.

Responsibility should be on the athletes to know restrictions on receiving free gifts and services, and on the Athletic Dept to educate them.

If the AD has properly educated athletes on these NCAA regulations, and coaches have limited contact with the athletes and are not aware of free privileges, then it seems responsibility falls on the athlete.

I think it is reasonable for a business owner (particularly in a college town such as Knoxville) to KNOW that they cannot give free cover, etc. to athletes. Additionally, it would appear from the article that they knew or atleast suspected that this was a problem which is why they established a VIP list of around 300 people in hopes of skirting the issue.

While the athletes do have most of the responsibility here, that does not relieve the business owners of their responsibility.

And let's face it - many were underage football players in a bar at 2 am on a school night. None of that says "Rhodes Scholar."

spencer1989#206886 writes:

in response to Lostvolinhighweeds:

Yes

Yes....Just think about these letters and name for a moment "USC" & "Reggie Bush". Only in their narrow minded view point, they didn't want to know or control anything....By sticking their heads in the sand...And they still feel they shouldn't have to. It's kind of like the "Don't ask, don't tell" phooey way of thinking...lol

spencer1989#206886 writes:

in response to OTPVol:

Nothing good comes from bars that mix alcohol and underage patrons. Not in Tennessee, not in Georgia, not in Alabama. No where.

And I will throw in....Guns in bars. None of it mixes well when conditions go balistic....And its like standing over an open can of gasoline with an open flame....Just waiting for the vapors to ignite....And then left thinking...Duh, what went wrong? What did we miss here?

feathersax writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

Close the craphole down.

DITTO! Going to "the strip" on game day isn't even fun anymore. This particular establishment should be padlocked.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to Troll_Here:

Troll Here. Given the troubles at my own school (UF), I normally enjoy it when the negative spotlight gets shown on another school. However, I have to say that you guys have had enough bad stuff happen in the last year. I'm starting to get worried that you guys won't be the great rival that I've grown to love (or hate) over the past 20 years or so. You are already thin on talent, and now you're having to kick quality players off the team. If the NCAA comes sniffing around it may be years before we get back to playing big games against each other. It sucks!

Troll,

Not to worry, you will be hating us a lot sooner than you think. Count on it!

WOB4Tenn writes:

I'm amazed that anyone remembers the old campus rub, uh pube, ah pub. I imagine the cops will get bar knoxville torn down like that joint was, then they'll salt the earth to make sure another bar doesn't grow back. and fertilize it for condos.

mrvol2u writes:

in response to Troll_Here:

Troll Here. Given the troubles at my own school (UF), I normally enjoy it when the negative spotlight gets shown on another school. However, I have to say that you guys have had enough bad stuff happen in the last year. I'm starting to get worried that you guys won't be the great rival that I've grown to love (or hate) over the past 20 years or so. You are already thin on talent, and now you're having to kick quality players off the team. If the NCAA comes sniffing around it may be years before we get back to playing big games against each other. It sucks!

What a shame for you to take pleasure from others misery. I bet you were snickering when the oil hit the beach.

I enjoyed Tim Tebow setting a good example for others to follow even if he was a gator. I would not wish any team to have players involved in phooey like this. Enjoy your moment because if you look on ESPN's college headlines you will see all schools are capable of having it happen to them. UF will have a black-eye moment and when they do, I will NOT take pleasure from it.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

I DO NOT condone the actions of our players.

That said...

If Tim Tebow or Mark Ingram E-V-E-R drank a free coke, ate a free hamburger or hot dog, rode in a vehicle, or even flew for free in a plane provided by the Downtown Athletic Club of Manhattan...any product or service at all that other students at their respective university's are charged a price for...then they broke NCAA rules.

And if that is the case... then I STRONGLY believe there is SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE for an NCAA probe into their schools as well.

But on the other hand, when you are on a band scholarship, no such rule exists.

So maybe it is time for the NCAA to re-evaluate such a stupid rule (I can understand the rule for a recruit but not a student athlete already enrolled), and allow these athletes who cannot work jobs, to have the same rights and privileges as other students?

If you are on a band scholarship, you get $500 or $1000 towards your tuition. That's it.

If you are on a football scholarship, you get free tuition, free books, free room, free board (top quality grub, too. Not the Ramen noodles most college kids subsist on).

If your parents are poor, you get a Pell Grant.

And yes, you CAN have a summer job. Oklahoma recently vacated a dozen wins because a QB was paid for a summer job without ever going to work (the vacated wins were restored on appeal).

So, everything is paid, you can get a summer job, and if your parents can't send you spending money the feds will give it to you.

Pretty sweet deal.

The only thing the NCAA asks in return is to stay academically eligible and not take any EXTRA benefits. If you DO get extra benefits, you are ineligible until the situation is resolved. If the extra benefits come from representatives of the school, or is such large amounts (or happens so often) that the school should have known, the school gets in trouble.

What, exactly, is it about this setup that bothers you?

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