Father of Trae Golden says reports of academic problems are 'totally inaccurate'

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) works to pass as Mississippi State guard Tyson Cunningham (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) works to pass as Mississippi State guard Tyson Cunningham (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Cuonzo Martin is reticent. Robert Golden is rebutting.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s abrupt announcement of point guard Trae Golden’s transfer from Tennessee, questions, reports and rumors hung like dense fog Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a UT athletic department source with knowledge of the situation told the News Sentinel that Golden’s departure is “based on academics” and a result of “repeated plagiarism.” Academics as the root of the transfer was widely reported by Knoxville and by national media outlets.

Martin, the UT coach, conducted a morning radio interview on the News Sentinel Sports Page, his first public comments since Tuesday’s news. As expected, he offered few details of the separation between Golden and Tennessee. Instead, he brushed broad strokes, saying, the move is “a key loss” and repeatedly adding, “Trae has to do what’s best for Trae Golden.”

Contacted Wednesday afternoon, Robert Golden, Trae’s father, initially declined comment. He then, however, called Tuesday’s reports “totally inaccurate.”

“No, no, no,” he said regarding Golden’s alleged academic issues. “It’s not that. My son, he’s fine in that area. He’s just going to pursue some other opportunities.”

Contacted in a text message from the News Sentinel, Trae Golden issued a no comment.

Robert Golden said the possibility of his son transferring is “something that we have talked about for at least three months,” and said Martin and Trae Golden “have an understanding about what’s going on and what’s happened.”

Martin would not address any issues or specifics regarding Golden’s transfer, including Tuesday’s widespread reports.

“I try to put an umbrella, so to speak, over my guys on anything in any shape or form so I’ll be the guy that takes the hits on anything — whatever goes on with my guys,” Martin said. “Trae Golden had to do what’s best for Trae Golden, but he’s a talented player, a guy that can score the basketball. He’ll bounce back fine. He’ll do what he needs to do to be successful, there’s no doubt in my mind.”

Martin was then asked if the decision for Golden to transfer was out of his hands.

“The bottom line,” he responded, “this is the best decision for Trae Golden. Everything I do, I do what’s best for my players.”

Golden started 58 of his 96 career games over three seasons with the Vols, averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Golden was the Vols’ second-leading scorer last season at 12.1 points per game and led UT with 13.7 points per game as a sophomore.

In Tuesday’s university release announcing the transfer, Golden said he intends to play his senior year “somewhere else this fall.” Unless he is granted a hardship waiver to earn immediate eligibility, Golden won’t be able to play Division I basketball without sitting out the 2013-14 season, per NCAA transfer rules.

According to UT director of compliance Todd Dooley, Golden does not qualify for the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. Having spent three years at Tennessee, Golden is “nowhere close” to having enough credits to complete a degree at UT, Dooley said in a Wednesday afternoon interview with Josh Ward of The Sports Animal.

Asked if Golden is considering opportunities at another Division I program, Robert Golden said, “That’s a possibility, yes.”

“At this particular point, we’re looking at all options,” he added. “That’s about it.”

Now facing a hole in his backcourt and wielding an open scholarship to offer, Martin said the possibility exists of UT adding a point guard to its 2013-14 signing class.

“We have some pretty good leads and we’ll see,” he said.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

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Comments » 93

RoadTrip writes:

Wow - just wow. Does the smell in the UTAD ever leave?

bUTch_please writes:

Oh no he didn't!

underthehill writes:

if he had academic problems..would that not keep him from being eligible at another school..and something we have talked about for 3 mos..

StoneJackBaller writes:

In more disturbing news, a guy named Dooley is running our compliance department.

lomas98 writes:

in response to underthehill:

if he had academic problems..would that not keep him from being eligible at another school..and something we have talked about for 3 mos..

Players get kicked off the team for drugs all of the time and that doesn't keep them from being eligible at other schools immediately. Last I checked doing drugs is an illegal activity.

Something just doesn't add up here and I'm not sure if we will ever find out the real reason. If Martin is pushing someone out after 3 years and also tells an incoming freshman to look elsewhere, that is not a very good public perception of how he will treat my son if I was looking at Tenn to play basketball.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to lomas98:

Players get kicked off the team for drugs all of the time and that doesn't keep them from being eligible at other schools immediately. Last I checked doing drugs is an illegal activity.

Something just doesn't add up here and I'm not sure if we will ever find out the real reason. If Martin is pushing someone out after 3 years and also tells an incoming freshman to look elsewhere, that is not a very good public perception of how he will treat my son if I was looking at Tenn to play basketball.

Where do you see where Martin is "pushing someone out"? It very much looks like TG has not taken care of his academics, and has possibly cheated in some way. The UTAD is saying "academics and REPEATED Plagiarism". The UTAD is not, and should not be charged with baby sitting these student-athletes. They SHOULD be held accountable for completing their courses within the grade parameters set by the NCAA. If not, why try to place blame everywhere BUT on the student-athlete himself.

barefoot43 writes:

Something is up. If TG speaks up and says something it is probably not on him. If UT keeps quiet, the odds are it is either medical, academic or something "against team rules". Schools are legally not allowed to comment on any of those concerning a student.

Regardless, it is over. Move on and wish him well.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Navaloranges:

Where do you see where Martin is "pushing someone out"? It very much looks like TG has not taken care of his academics, and has possibly cheated in some way. The UTAD is saying "academics and REPEATED Plagiarism". The UTAD is not, and should not be charged with baby sitting these student-athletes. They SHOULD be held accountable for completing their courses within the grade parameters set by the NCAA. If not, why try to place blame everywhere BUT on the student-athlete himself.

I said "If" he is pushing him out. Sounds to me like reading father Golden's comments that he said it is not grades and that he was fine in that area. So, what is it then???? Either someone is lying or there is some truth to both sides. Perhaps Trae was just unhappy with something and wants out? Maybe Martin thinks the team will be better without him and said he wouldn't play that much. Maybe he cheated and is getting kicked out of school, but there are folks saying it wasn't just grades.

jt45 writes:

The plot thickens.Seems to me lockjaw has set in on both sides for those that have any accountability, legal or otherwise. I still think
there is more to this than academics, I mean if that was really the only issue how has Trae managed to make it this far. Somethings being kept swept under the rug and Im not sure wich side is doing the sweeping just yet.

Dickattrade writes:

Maybe he has girlfriend problems.It can drive a man to drink and do worse things sometimes..

tennrich1 writes:

Well until I see something unethical from CCM...I will stand with him...let the rest of the non Vollers rant on bro...rant on....Funny!

alfrizzle097 writes:

If UT is choosing not to comment, that would seem to lend credence to the idea that the reports thus far have been accurate.

If Trae Golden is choosing not to comment, that would also seem to lend credence to the current reports.

UT couldn't comment on it, and Trae couldn't defend himself without compounding the issue with misinformation. Silence all around.

OwensboroVol writes:

I am a Tennessee Alumnus (and so was my wife, God Rest Her Soul)and a lifelong Tennessee Fan. Only in the last 3-4 years have excuses and what I consider made up reasons for a Player, Coach, or Staff person being let go started coming from the Hill. I don't know what the trouble is over there but they better get it straightened out fast. If Trae Golden had violated Student Academic or Honor codes rules it stands to reason that under NCAA rules that he would not be eligible at another school. There is one sure thing that has existed throughout the history of man, Truth is the best policy. I would suggest the UT Athletic Dept. start using it a little more. This past year has seen dubious personnel actions, Several Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints, withdrawn Scholarships, and Signing more Basketball Players than the NCAA permits and then asking proven players to leave. Say what you want about Bruce Pearl and Phil Fulmer, and it may have been happening, but it wasn't advertised so High School Players considering Tennessee didn't know if they would be allowed to come and play or not. Something has to be done and it needs to be done fast.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Dear Robert-your son cheated. sorry you had to hear it from me 1st.

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to StoneJackBaller:

In more disturbing news, a guy named Dooley is running our compliance department.

If Golden had to take 11 classes this year to stay eligible, he might want to demand a recount.

easttnvol21 writes:

Sounds like TG may have dribbled one off his foot

1vavolfan writes:

If someone had reported that I had flunked out of school and hadn't I would come out and totally rebuff that statement instead of giving a lukewarm "oh no he's fine on that" kind of answer. If he did flunk out, he's not transferring anywhere. He would probably have to go the JUCO route and then transfer. He wouldn't have the grades to transfer directly to a D1 school.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

I am a Tennessee Alumnus (and so was my wife, God Rest Her Soul)and a lifelong Tennessee Fan. Only in the last 3-4 years have excuses and what I consider made up reasons for a Player, Coach, or Staff person being let go started coming from the Hill. I don't know what the trouble is over there but they better get it straightened out fast. If Trae Golden had violated Student Academic or Honor codes rules it stands to reason that under NCAA rules that he would not be eligible at another school. There is one sure thing that has existed throughout the history of man, Truth is the best policy. I would suggest the UT Athletic Dept. start using it a little more. This past year has seen dubious personnel actions, Several Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints, withdrawn Scholarships, and Signing more Basketball Players than the NCAA permits and then asking proven players to leave. Say what you want about Bruce Pearl and Phil Fulmer, and it may have been happening, but it wasn't advertised so High School Players considering Tennessee didn't know if they would be allowed to come and play or not. Something has to be done and it needs to be done fast.

Agreed

johnlg00 writes:

Dang! I miss the board for a couple of days and then THIS happens! If nothing else, the Golden haters on here should be happy. From what I have read so far, the UTAD hasn't said anything officially except that he is transferring. The academic story comes from an unnamed "source". I know that the laws about student privacy and what may be published legally about academic and conduct matters have gotten more complicated and strict over the last several years, but it is clear that no one except those directly involved know what the true situation is right now. Except that he really is gone, I guess.

With all that has been going on lately--Yemi, Landry, and now Golden--one must wonder what the general morale is like in the basketball program right now. My impression is that Golden was popular with the rest of the squad, but what do I know? Whether he jumped or was pushed, so to speak, everybody concerned needs to come to terms with it ASAP.

If everything is still OK with the rest of the squad, or becomes so soon, the on-court implications need not be dire, though it is hard for me to imagine that Golden's contributions won't be missed. The ball-handling situation will be helped a bit by Maymon's return, since he is by far the best ball-handler among the front-court players. In any case, it looks like Thompson needs to get up to speed ASAP. His less-than-spectacular stats notwithstanding, the fact that Landry was told to go elsewhere before this happened would seem to indicate that the Golden situation was something that came more or less out of the blue, but I'm as mystified as anybody else right now.

TheEffect writes:

Only at UT. Any other program would take the high road and simply say the kid was transferring and wish him well. Tennessee and Martin on the other hand leak the plagiarism charge against Golden to get fans to ease off Martin. He was starting to catch heat for his recent roster moves, and Golden was the perfect scapegoat.

Go to UT....they will not hesitate a second to throw you under the bus.

maciste54 writes:

Never fear! Hubbs will step in and do a Bernard King impersonation next year.........I hope.

notorange writes:

Somebody is not being totally honest, May never know which it is..

8inarow writes:

Sounds like he was playing while being ineligible.

allvol8 writes:

in response to StoneJackBaller:

In more disturbing news, a guy named Dooley is running our compliance department.

No relation..he used to be on Pat's practice squad for the Lady Vols..his aunt works for KCSD

dvols writes:

yawn......

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Not a conspiracy theory believer nor one to think everything is rotten in Denmark. That said, this has not been handled well. If, under privacy issues, nothing can be said, the administration should make sure nothing is said. If that is the case, how can the truth be worse...for all concerned...than this vague, contradicting info? Just leads to negative views regarding all concerned. If he was dismissed, just say so. If he chose to leave, just say so. Reasons are only for the detail thirsty but Volunteer fans...and the public, for that matter, are entitled to straight talk. This involves a performer in the circus we support.

SoFlaVol writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Dear Robert-your son cheated. sorry you had to hear it from me 1st.

Now that's keeping it real, and I think you nailed it. The fact that a source from the UTAD stated there were "academic" issues and "repeated plagiarism" tells me daddy is in denial. The UTAD would not risk lawsuits for slander and/or libel by making these allegations if they were not accurate.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TheEffect:

Only at UT. Any other program would take the high road and simply say the kid was transferring and wish him well. Tennessee and Martin on the other hand leak the plagiarism charge against Golden to get fans to ease off Martin. He was starting to catch heat for his recent roster moves, and Golden was the perfect scapegoat.

Go to UT....they will not hesitate a second to throw you under the bus.

Pure speculation. What advantage is it to Martin to push Golden out? All Martin HAS said is what you say he SHOULD have said. I seriously doubt he is the "unnamed source". There are only a few people on here, mostly the "usual suspects", who blame Martin for Yemi's departure and Landry's rerouting. I don't at all get how Martin would or could or needs to use Golden as a "scapegoat". Please be more specific.

PabloMelton writes:

You have to be really stupid to face losing eligibility. You have to be illiterate to flunk out of UT with all of the support that these athletes receive. The University of Tennessee is an ever improving institution of higher learning. However, it is beyond easy for a ball player to remain academically eligible while on the hill. All you have to do is make ANY semblance of effort to attend class. I look forward to supporting Trae for the remainder of his adult life. Do us a favor. Don't reproduce.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Sounds like he was playing while being ineligible.

The Kentucky and Florida fans hope so.....then they'll lobby to get those beatdowns taken off their record.

PabloMelton writes:

in response to TheEffect:

Only at UT. Any other program would take the high road and simply say the kid was transferring and wish him well. Tennessee and Martin on the other hand leak the plagiarism charge against Golden to get fans to ease off Martin. He was starting to catch heat for his recent roster moves, and Golden was the perfect scapegoat.

Go to UT....they will not hesitate a second to throw you under the bus.

Yeah. This isn't Trae's fault at all!

mikeypanic writes:

ainge said that butch can coach basketball too.

talk about a mouthpiece.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to lomas98:

I said "If" he is pushing him out. Sounds to me like reading father Golden's comments that he said it is not grades and that he was fine in that area. So, what is it then???? Either someone is lying or there is some truth to both sides. Perhaps Trae was just unhappy with something and wants out? Maybe Martin thinks the team will be better without him and said he wouldn't play that much. Maybe he cheated and is getting kicked out of school, but there are folks saying it wasn't just grades.

How many parents of athletes lie for their kids or to cover up for them? Same goes for coaches. UTAD said it was grades and plagiarism. That is what I will believe until proven wrong.
If this happened at KY., Kansas etc.we would hear nothing about it.

CoverOrange writes:

His academics were all fine...

Except for the one class where turned in someone else's paper...twice.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

I didn't see this coming but my friends on the hill told me it's grades. I don't know and I wish Trae all the luck in the world. We'll see. This is another opportunity for someone else to step forward. Who will it be?

Go Vols!

CrankE writes:

Riiiiiiight. Maybe he could get together and swap stories with Tyler Bray's dad. You know the one who is mystified as to how the other 11 quarterbacks who were drafted can be better than Tyler Bray.

That's all I've got to say. Just like Cuonzo Martin always says, "CrankE has to do what's best for CrankE."

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No sabe.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey, I'm a Tennessee man win or lose. I have been for about 45 years now. Nothing you can say or do will change that! We are rebuilding as bad as I hate it but rest assured we are a lot closer than most people give us credit for. The Vols are back, Jack! Just ask Uncle Si.

Fight on you Mighty Vols! Don't let anyone tell you you can't win!!!!!!

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't think so! I supported Dooley as our Coach as all Vol fans should. I however didn't understand the hire and hoped for the best. He turned out to be a poor Coach but I think he is a good man that was over his head. I wasn't in favor of signing Coach Jones at first but I believe he has proved me wrong. No matter what the Vols will be back. I will be there with the rest of the VOL NATION and enjoy the ride. I hope you are with us!

Fight on you Mighty Vols!

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did you say something?

The Vols ROCK!

voloffaith writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow kid I almost teared up on that last line.........Point one and two credible maybe ...point three is speculation on your part and you know it...Between Gruden and pro day workouts and interviews young master Bray did himself in...............

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good to hear! I guess you are a member of the "Vol Truth Squad". I don't know what that is but if it helps UT....good for them. The Vols are back and it is up to all of us true Vol fans to give our all to make sure we help the team win as much as possible. Like I said before....I hope you are with us!

Go Big ORANGE!!!!!!

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe they did ask Dooley. I'm sure they did. Maybe he was simply honest. You ever thought about that? I want Tyler to be successful as I do all Vols. But in my opinion he wasn't ready for the NFL. Yes, he has a strong arm and that's about it. He'll get a chance with a NFL team. Let's all watch and see how it turns out.

Go Vols!

jt45 writes:

in response to SoFlaVol:

Now that's keeping it real, and I think you nailed it. The fact that a source from the UTAD stated there were "academic" issues and "repeated plagiarism" tells me daddy is in denial. The UTAD would not risk lawsuits for slander and/or libel by making these allegations if they were not accurate.

Actually thats not keeping it real at all, in fact mixing in a leaked statement from a source, LOL! is not much info to go on at all let alone calling out a former player who may or may not be guilty of anything. The source from the UTAD, would that be the same source who said Gruden was coming to knoxville ? This whole scenario seems more likely created to draw some of the heat off of the staff after recent events. The silence by all party,s involved lends no more credibility to either side despite what some might think. Quite frankly I would be inclined to believe Trae,s father before I would the silence from the University. Maybe someday the real facts will surface instead of all this so called source nonesense.

GerryOP writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"...the masses labeled him as a BCS Championship coach...?" Who are "the masses" you speak of? Why do you come on here and flat out lie to support your miserable cause? Some of us noblely supported Coach Dooley because a) he was our head football coach, b) he was doing a job no one else dared to tackle, and c) he was doing what needed to be done to help put this program back together.

I know of no one on this board who labeled Coach Dooley "...as a BCS Championship coach..." No one! You're lying and making that up. But we certainly did appreciate what he was doing to help get this program back on it's feet. In the meantime, all that you miserable idiot losers could do was to continue to try to tear this program apart. And still you denigrate everything Vol. You are clearly not a Vol fan.

Tell us something. With all of this self proclaimed expertise and experience in running a D-1 university football program, what in the hell are you doing hiding behind an anonymous nonsensical screen name offering no solutions, only criticism? If you know it all, get over to K'town and offer your services. But no, all you can do is call people names and criticize while hiding behind your keyboard. You're nothing but a loser.

KevDVol writes:

Medical and Academic privacy regulation prohibit University personel from disclosing a player's medical or academic issues. The term "violation of team rules" is frequently used by coaches when a player has failed to meet various eligibility standards. Perhaps Coach Martin does not like using that term. Since Trae's father is respecting his son's privacy, only Trae will be able to legally and specifically disclose the nature of his departure.

If UT is not obligated to disclose the nature of any possible violation, it would not be in Trae Golden's best interests to say anything self-incriminating, especially if he intends to transfer.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Toddygurl, post the link where the Steelers said they were going to take Bray in the third round and said he was the most talented qb in the draft, Mr. Steelers insider

That_One_Fellar writes:

in response to StoneJackBaller:

In more disturbing news, a guy named Dooley is running our compliance department.

+1

tovolny writes:

Posters are guessing what happened, and then other posters are responding to the guesses. That, and the posters who purposely are clouding up the situation. I think I will just wait until some reliable information comes forth from a reliable news source. I don't care if 400 more posters respond to this article, I am not reading anymore.

FeelVol writes:

My gut says he either did something wrong or is having some kind of personal issues[perhaps with a young lady].I just don't believe that
Coach Martin would push him out the door no way.Trae was just to valuable a member of our team the last couple years and I wish him well in life.

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