Bruce Pearl Officially Suspends Four Arrested Tennessee Players

Mike Griffith of the Knoxville News Sentinel writes Saturday that Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl has suspended Melvin Goins, Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams -- the four basketball players arrested on New Year's Day for numerous misdemeanor drug and weapons charges. The length of the suspension is up in the air, however.

UT coach Bruce Pearl told the News Sentinel on Friday night that all four players have been suspended and likely will not practice with the team today. It's possible all four will be suspended for at least one game, too.

Griffith's article goes into the basketball implications of the suspension, which could be significant. The Volunteers' next game is Wednesday night against Charlotte, a team that already beat Louisville at Freedom Hall by 22 in December. After that, Tennessee plays top-ranked Kansas on Saturday, January 9. Those games would both be difficult to win with four of the team's top eight performers out.

The original News Sentinel story has been updated to include further information about the car in which the players were stopped. 

(Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell) DeBusk said the vehicle used was a Dodge Charger and had Illinois plates. A source told the News Sentinel that the vehicle was a rental and was borrowed from a player's friend.

UT compliance is expected to look into the relationship between the players and the person responsible for the rental car to determine if the NCAA would deem it to be a violation of the extra benefit rule.

Our Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk, has more information and discussion on this developing story.

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