Tennessee wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett appears to be on his way out of the program, but important discussions and decisions have yet to transpire.
Arnett, who is seeking a release from his scholarship to be closer to his ailing father in Saginaw, Mich., has not met with coach Derek Dooley to officially discuss the terms of his release, a source close to Arnett told the News Sentinel on Thursday. He can not officially ask for an NCAA hardship waiver request before he is granted the release.
Arnett has pondered the decision for months. In an interview with a Michigan State website from the 247sports.com family earlier this month — one that was not released until late Wednesday — he appeared to have his mind already made up.
"Due to personal family reasons, I've decided to leave Tennessee," Arnett told SpartanTailgate. "I appreciate everything the Vols coaches have done for me but in the long run the Tennessee program isn't the right fit for me or my family."
If Arnett qualifies for an NCAA hardship waiver, he would be able to play immediately at wherever he landed. Hang-ups with his National Letter of Intent, though, could put that in jeopardy.
Because Arnett signed a National Letter of Intent in February, he is subject to eligibility ramifications if he does not complete a full year at UT. It could, perhaps, be in his best interest to go through spring semester and spring football at UT before signing elsewhere.
"The basic penalty may preclude you from representing the second college until you have completed two academic years in residence at the latter institution and you may lose two seasons of competition in all sports," according to a National Letter of Intent cheat sheet from the NCAA's official website.
UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Thursday the athletic department "doesn't confirm of comment publicly on student-athlete release requests."
Considered one of the Vols' top-rated signees for the class of 2011, Arnett started once and saw playing time in all 12 games this past season. His 24 receptions tied for the second-most by a freshman in program history. He finished with 242 receiving yards, a total that ranked fifth on the team, and two touchdowns.
Before committing to UT in November 2010, Arnett nearly committed to nearby Michigan State. He also had Michigan in his final five.