Tennessee senior defensive tackle Mo Couch, who has been ruled ineligible for Saturday’s game at Oregon, went to Twitter on Friday morning to apologize for allegations that he received impermissible benefits.
Couch’s tweet said, “I want to apologize to everyone from my family,teammates, n the Volnation. Im sorry I let u guys down. #orangeswarm #beattheducks #117”
On Thursday, UT coach Butch Jones told The Associated Press that the athletic department’s compliance department ruled the 6-foot-2, 304-pound Couch ineligible.
Yahoo Sports reported on Wednesday that Couch and former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray were among five SEC players to receive cash payments from former Alabama football player Luther Davis. The other former players were Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker along with Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox, a defensive tackle, and wideout Chad Bumphis.
Davis was described as a “concierge” or intermediary between agents and financial advisers and the prospective NFL players they were trying to recruit as clients.
Yahoo said it had authenticated six cash transfers from Davis to Couch and Bray, primarily in the summer of 2012. All of the alleged transfers occurred before Jones was hired as coach last December.
If the allegations are substantiated, the implications for Tennessee’s football program are unclear. If the NCAA chooses to apply a strict standard, Couch and Bray could be declared retroactively ineligible and the Vols could be forced to vacate any win in which the two players participated. The Vols went 5-7 in 2012. Couch has played in both of Tennessee’s wins in 2013.
Couch, a junior college transfer in his third season at UT and a native of Orlando, Fla., is married with one child. His wife recently wrote on Twitter that she is five months pregnant with the couple’s second child.
Bray was not selected in April’s NFL draft, but made the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster after signing a free-agent contract with the team.
Bray’s agent did not comment to Yahoo on the report. Bray did not speak to media in Kansas City on Thursday.
UT is on NCAA probation through Aug. 23, 2015. The probation was extended by two years last November after the NCAA ruled that former assistant Willie Mack Garza provided impermissible travel and lodging to a former prospect.