"Seven to 10" Vols Involved in Bar Brawl: Two Charged, Two Suspended, One Booted

Update 7:30 p.m.: Darren Myles was charged with assault and resisting and evading arrest, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, and has been kicked off the team by Derek Dooley. Two other players, Greg King and Marion Walls, have been indefinitely suspended. Original story follows.

Tennessee would obviously like to return to contention in the SEC quickly under Derek Dooley. Our Matt Hayes, slotting them at No. 56 in SN's college football countdown, thinks that's going to be hard to do this year.

It will be even harder now that the Vols are on the rise in the police blotter. Several players getting into a bar brawl involving an off-duty cop doesn't usually help a team.

⇥⇥⇥KNOXVILLE — The co-owner of a nightclub near the University of Tennessee campus said “seven to 10” Volunteers football players were involved in a fight early Friday morning at the establishment.⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

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⇥⇥⇥Bar Knoxville co-owner Sandy Morton offered her eyewitness account of the event to the Times Free Press.⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥...⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

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⇥⇥⇥“Basically, it was a normal Thursday night — Thursday’s our big night,” Morton said. “We had all the UT football players come in. They’re on a first-name basis with my husband (and co-owner), and they get VIP status, which means they pay no cover at the door. We’ve never had a problem with them in the past, but tonight, apparently they had a falling out with another gentleman. I don’t know why. I don’t know what happened, but several of the guys started beating up the other customer. I want to guess there was seven to 10 guys beating up this one gentleman.⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥“All the security then rushed in and were trying to break it up. My husband saw them picking up bar stools and starting to swing them. We got them out the door with security. There happened to be a friend of ours who was an off-duty police officer outside. He tried to help, and he ended up getting knocked out in the street and proceeded to be kicked while he was down on the ground in the middle of Cumberland."⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

That sounds to me like a possible last act as a Volunteer for any player involved; it's hard to see how Tennessee and Dooley would be able to spin a fight involving Vols that resulted in an unconscious cop in the middle of the road such that those Vols will don uniforms this fall. Touted freshman wideout Da'Rick Rogers was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Other players being questioned included Darren Myles, Denarius Moore, and Montori Hughes.

If you want insult to injury, this story has that, too: the Vols and the bar might have been unwittingly committing NCAA violations long before allegedly committing assault. Players being given "VIP" status and free entry would be a no-no, as ESPN's Mark Schlabach points out.

There are many bad ways to begin a tenure as a coach, but having about a tenth of your team throw down in a bar that they might have gotten into for free is a bit worse than most. Dooley—who, it should be noted, is not responsible for this happening, only for punishment administered ex post facto, and has the bad luck to be out of town at the moment—now has a pile of trouble on his plate. What he does in the coming days might condemn Tennessee's season, but mishandling this might shorten his tenure as head coach.

Then again, going 3-9, regardless of the circumstances, would probably lop a year off Dooley's time on Rocky Top. He's in a catch-22, and it's one of the least enviable ones in college sports in recent memory.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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