Mo Couch, who has been ruled ineligible, apologizes on Twitter

Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch (44) pressures Austin Peay quarterback Andrew Spivey (9) during the first half against Austin Peay at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch (44) pressures Austin Peay quarterback Andrew Spivey (9) during the first half against Austin Peay at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

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.

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Comments » 3

OrangePride writes:

After looking over the various documentations, my best guess is that Couch is done with his college playing days.......something I am really sorry to see. He will probably have to make restitution and deal with suspension. Bray? Nothing happens. Par for the course in that case. As for UT, since it was not institutional, nor could they have really known about this, I doubt the NCAA will enact further penalties on them. And vacate wins? Well, if they do, then wouldn't Alabama have to vacate an NC? Ohhhhhh baby, I wouldn't even want to be Fluker if that happened, but I seriously doubt it will. NOW; I say it again; we desperately need legislation that makes agent tampering with college amateur players (directly or indirectly) a serious crime and carry big time fines. I'm talking $100,000 per offense type fines. These slimy characters are getting off scott-free while our players and universities have to keep cleaning up their mess!

johnlg00 writes:

Couch probably also needs to apologize to his own family. The pittance he took from the "agent" may well have foreclosed any chance he might have had for NFL riches. He still had a LOT to prove at this level before he would have been considered draft-worthy. Hope he stays in school and gets his degree, because it looks like he will have to work for a living like ordinary folks.

Tao_of_Tennessee writes:

What we need is a program where our players with NFL aspirations come and work with me a week. They would be horrified at the prospect of doing what I do for a living...and absolutely scared straight. They would not dare do anything to compromise a potential NFL career after a week at my desk.

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