UT dismisses tight end Cameron Clear after felony theft charge

Do you agree with the decision to dismiss Cameron Clear?

See the results »

View previous polls »

Cameron Clear

Cameron Clear

KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley announced today that sophomore tight end Cameron Clear has been dismissed from the team, effective immediately.

Clear was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday pending the gathering of additional information after he was charged with theft of a laptop from a Vol baseball player.

"It hurts anytime a player is dismissed from the program, but there comes a time when a player's actions dictate that his privilege of being a part of this team should be removed," Dooley said in a news release.

"We will continue to support Cam and his family to help him learn from his actions and become the person and player I believe he has the potential to be."

The laptop Clear's accused of stealing came from a May 19 burglary of five fellow University of Tennessee athletes' dorm room at Gibbs Hall, according to police records released Wednesday.

The 19-year-old from Memphis faces a felony charge of theft up to $10,000. Clear remained free Wednesday with bond set at $2,500.

He was sitting at the entrance to Neyland Stadium on Tuesday when UT police caught him online on a MacBook Pro that belonged to freshman baseball pitcher Brandon Zajac, according to an arrest warrant.

Four other freshman baseball players — all neighbors of Clear in Gibbs Hall — reported they'd been burglarized at the same time as Zajac.

At the time of Clear's suspension, Jimmy Stanton, UT associate athletic director for communications, would not provide any details of the charge, wouldn't discuss the other thefts and wouldn't say whether other athletes have reported similar thefts.

Police traced the laptop's Wi-Fi signal to Gate 2 at the stadium around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, UT police Cpl. Ben Doty wrote in the arrest warrant. Clear was still at the keyboard when officers walked up, according to the warrant.

"Upon my arrival, I saw Mr. Clear sitting with a silver MacBook in his lap," Doty wrote. "Once he saw the officers, he closed the laptop."

The laptop's serial number matched the MacBook stolen from Zajac, Doty wrote.

Zajac and the other four baseball players — first-baseman/outfielder Richard Carter of Brentwood, Tenn., who's no longer on the team; pitcher Robbie Kidd of Fairfax Station, Va.; infielder Will Maddox of Gainesville, Ga.; and pitcher Connor Mahan Stevens of Raleigh, N.C. — reported a burglar had hit their dorm rooms Saturday.

UT officials released a copy of the initial burglary report to campus police after a series of public records requests by the News Sentinel. The report lists all five victims and lists Clear as a suspect but doesn't list what was stolen.

UT officials refused to give that list, even though other police agencies routinely include such details in incident reports, which are public records under state law.

The players couldn't be reached Wednesday.

Kidd's father, Scott Kidd, said his son's Sony VAIO laptop and a small flat-screen television were stolen.

"Luckily, he had an iPod in the room, too, but it was covered up by dirty clothes," the father said. "I guess it was a good strategy."

Other players' families couldn't be reached.

Zajac's laptop set off an electronic alert when Clear used it to log into the university's wireless network Tuesday, according to court records. He logged into a jail cell hours later.

Clear, a 6-6, 283-pound tight end, caught one pass for four yards as a freshman. He played in 12 games for the Vols in 2011, including two starts.

More details as they develop online and in Saturday's News Sentinel.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 313

FearTheVols1252 writes:

Hate to see it, but it was the right decision.

GerryOP writes:

What a shame. Best of luck Cam.

Move on along now, nothing to see here.

VOLet_parking writes:

Probably could have used the conditioning walking to the free library computers...

Central_IL_Vol writes:

It seems pretty clear that this kid was guilty; Dooley did the right thing!

heyitsme writes:

Good move Dooley!

Bad move Clear!

Volunista writes:

Good move, Coach - expect them to act like a Vol should or get the boot.

BigOrangeSlim writes:

Hate to see any player leave like this but I think CDD wants the players to feel that its an honor to wear the Orange and White! Good decision Coach!! Best of luck Cameron

kd45music writes:

If all the players who should be dismissed from all college teams were actually dismissed, there would be no one left to play the game. I know, that's an exaggeration, but sometimes one just shakes his head and says these kids need to be judged on the content of their character and not their athletic ability.

Ironcity writes:

Had to be done. I would not want this kid in the dorm if my son was in the dorm. From a football perspective, we have been doing a good job recruiting tight end s so the effect should be limited to the team.

saintjosephpatick writes:

Had to be done....

adfvol writes:

CAMERON CLEAR...HE GONE

snakeplissken writes:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

40cap writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The details are the kid screwed up, coach tried to give him a 2nd chance (and keep it quiet to protect the kid), kid screwed up again so he was dismissed. Dramatic much?

poletad7 writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're an idiot!

CoverOrange writes:

whoa whoa whoa. According to Walt, Dooley should have given him a verbal warning (written and signed) first just in case Cam didn't know stealing was worng!

keepitreal4vols writes:

When will Dooley be dismissed?

poletad7 writes:

in response to kd45music:

If all the players who should be dismissed from all college teams were actually dismissed, there would be no one left to play the game. I know, that's an exaggeration, but sometimes one just shakes his head and says these kids need to be judged on the content of their character and not their athletic ability.

Sad to say, but I think we pretty much know his character

shamrocktexasvol writes:

roger, clear over and out.

west_tn_volfan writes:

Young Mr. Clear made some very poor decisions that hurt the team his family and himself. Hope he learns from this and develops better character. He will need it if he wants to stay out of jail.

heyitsme writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

Please verify - link?

etu_vol_fan writes:

This knucklehead had to go. There is nothing else that had to be said on this deal. You steal then you don't get the privilege to participate.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

He sent them packing when he really needed them on the team., His morel values are much higher than yours.

CarlChilders writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was wondering how long it would take someone to turn a the correct action into a negative.

MilitaryBrat writes:

This was the best thing they should have done.
It shows recruit parents that UT isn't going to put up with anything. and that their kids are not going be around those kind of people.

Does anyone think he will have any serious jail time? ( I say 3-6 months - Actual jail time)
A theft of (1000-10,000) is a Class D felony (2-12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines)
According to a Tennessee Criminal Lawyer website.

Does anyone know if he has any restrictions on transfering to another school?
And depending on the verdict, do you think he will play anywhere this year?

I think he might sign on to a juco school, or AA, and since he got there late(due to legal problems), I see him red-shirting, unless he's able to play in a late game, so he can claim it as an year toward any restrictions on the schools that he can go (if any).

Snapshot writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

And you know this how? Qiut acting like you have some kind of inside info when all you are doing is making stuff up.

I'll give DD credit for doing the right thing, but I'm sure the haters will think otherwise.

Razor784 writes:

Dooley did the right thing here, but if this had been a better player, he would have went into cover up mode and tried to keep him on the team.

Snapshot writes:

in response to Razor784:

Dooley did the right thing here, but if this had been a better player, he would have went into cover up mode and tried to keep him on the team.

A better player??? He was the top recruit in the state last year!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

You clearly illustrate the theory behind never underestimating the power of stupidity. I love it when things like this happen… all you retarded conspiracy theorists come crawling out of the woodwork claiming to have insider information about the true chronology of events and what really went down.

Thanks for claiming to know and understand the thought process and intentions of another individual. Your stupidity is noted.

MtJ_Orange writes:

in response to Lane_Kiffins_Daddy_Wears_Diapers:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wasn't that the Zooker who did that? Could have been The Urban Cryer, anyway I'm sure BoQueen can let us know.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Razor784:

Dooley did the right thing here, but if this had been a better player, he would have went into cover up mode and tried to keep him on the team.

And by all means, please provide us with a name of a D1 football coach who would never do such a thing.

That's what I thought...

spencer1989#206886 writes:

Good and smart move CDD. Bad move on Clear's part and a complete lapse of judgement from him. Hopefully he will learn from this and make a permanent change in the right direction.

tulelakevol writes:

Dooley should have been dismissed for losing to Kentucky.

Volunista writes:

in response to Razor784:

Dooley did the right thing here, but if this had been a better player, he would have went into cover up mode and tried to keep him on the team.

Clear was a high-value recruit. Therefore your statement is spurious at best. For a razor, you don't appear to be too sharp.

tulelakevol writes:

Or docked a million in pay.

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

Hopefully Cam will learn from his stupidity and be able to CLEAR his name in the future.

tovolny writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

Thank goodness, we have a head coach with enough sense not to hang the young man from the first tree available. If he had your "lynch mob" mentality, the situation would now be a lot worse. He chose what most sane people would do and exercised common sense to obtain all the available data or facts of the situation, and THEN proceeded to act accordingly. Most people fall in one of the following categories: peacemaker, justice maker, lawmaker, lawbreaker, inert exist-er, or habitual complainer. And in my neck of the woods, the last two are the least liked. Innocent until proven guilty privilege is one of the main things needed to maintain a civilized society.

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have a hard time with supposed actions by Dooley written as fact. If you have facts, state them with sources. If not, don't state rumor as fact.

I hear that Johnny Majors is coming back as head coach and Fulmer's going to be his OC. Ooh, I guess this is fun.

SavTnVol writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

The sad part is that when Clear was caught a few weeks ago, Dooley tried to cover it up just like he did for Janzen Jackson last year. If Dooley had turned it over to the authorities a few weeks ago after the first incident, chances are Clear wouldn't have been sent the message that because he was a 5 star he could do as he wished since Dooley shows favoritism to those players.

I thought I'd mention that it wasn't Dooley who made the decision today to terminate Clear. He was just the messenger.

Really? You know, this shows how ignorant you are. The report says that the thief was on May 19th. Today is May 25th. This came out in the news a couple of days ago. tell me genius, just how did CDD know this a couple of weeks ago and did not report it? Go back to Nashville you troll.

Shmohawk writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Please verify - link?

His link is that he believes everything he reads/hears the first time he reads/hears it, and will defend to the death any evidence in opposition.

DonK37920 writes:

Kudos to Dooley. You give the kid a second chance and he refuses to learn from his mistakes so he is gone. Dooley has shown a lot of great leadership during his short tenure here and he had a lot to "clean up". We had a lot of problems here when he took over similar to Alabama when Saban took over. Drugs, Guns, Theft etc... I think a lot of people dismiss how horrible the UT Athletic department atmosphere was when Dooley took over. Football and Basketball. We all recruit from the same pool of athletes so there will be some bad apples slip through every now and you have to give them a fair chance to change. Second chances worked well for Gerald Jones and Britton Colquit, unfortunately Cam didn't fair so well.

I like the consistency too. Dooley has shown he handles all discipline situations on a similar time frame. He never seems to rush to a decision and does his fact gathering on his schedule and doesn't bow to media or radio/internet chatter.
This stuff has gone on in every single athletic department in college for a long time. Coaches today have it harder than ever though because they have all these situations play out on Twitter, Facebook, Message Boards, Talk Radio etc... Nothing gets handled behind closed doors anymore and most of the time no one knows the whole situation except the coaches and players so we are dealing with rumors and half truths.

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Please verify - link?

Exactly, rumor stated as fact. Welcome to the internet. What is the source?

thevoice writes:

in response to kd45music:

If all the players who should be dismissed from all college teams were actually dismissed, there would be no one left to play the game. I know, that's an exaggeration, but sometimes one just shakes his head and says these kids need to be judged on the content of their character and not their athletic ability.

Partially agree, but a felony has to be over the line. This was a FELONY, a federal offense.

"A person convicted in a court of law of a felony crime is known as a felon. In the United States, where the felony/misdemeanor distinction is still widely applied, the federal government defines a felony as a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year." Wikipedia.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Take a hike Jeffy. Coach Dooley did everything right, and you just can't stand it.

thevoice writes:

in response to Volunista:

Clear was a high-value recruit. Therefore your statement is spurious at best. For a razor, you don't appear to be too sharp.

Too funny!

volnsc writes:

Where is the team leadership? What would Al Wilson have done? LOL

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Ears_Whitworth_in_Orange_Pants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah. I see how the stuff at Penn State and this are the same.

What an idiot. (And I'm not talking about Clear.)

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

I'm sure Auburn will be wanting him. They like players with the name "Cam" that steal laptops.

CroKev writes:

If it's a "felony theft charge," he has a lot more to worry about than being dismissed from the football team. Something tells me, however, that the victims won't press charges.

Volunatic writes:

I hope he doesn't end up at some school that UT plays in the next couple of seasons.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Oddly, this is a country where the law says innocent until proven guilty. Whatever happened a few weeks ago (and nobody posting on here has that knowledge), I'm sure Dooley did the right thing, and there was no attempted cover-up. I say that because he's got a history of doing the right thing in these discipline cases, and he's going to play by the rules. In that previous indicent, Clear was implicated in something, but there was obviously either no evidence, or discipline was handled internally to give the kid a chance to correct his problems without law enforcement involvement. Since we don't know the details, we aren't in a position to throw stones.

If you dismiss a kid from the team, and then he's found innocent, you look like a complete tool (because you are one). You always wait until you have all the facts and law enforcement (when they are involved) does their thing. Until then, you suspend the kid indefinitely.

That's exactly how Dooley handled it, and it's exactly how Dooley should have handled it.

Jeffy et al., GSY.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features