3 Vols Starters Ruled Academically Ineligible For Outback Bowl
No. 16 Tennessee faces No. 18 Wisconsin on Jan. 1
Dec. 21, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -T hree starters are among a half dozen Tennessee Volunteers who have been ruled academically ineligible for the Outback Bowl.
Wide receiver Lucas Taylor, linebacker Rico McCoy and defensive tackle Demonte Bolden are among the six scholarship players whose fall semester grades didn't meet NCAA and Southeastern Conference requirements to play.
No. 16 Tennessee (9-4) faces No. 18 Wisconsin (9-3) on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
"We have every resource available through our academic center for academic success by our athletes in all of our sports," coach Phillip Fulmer said in a statement. "In most of these cases, it was simply the student-athlete not being accountable and doing their work. One bright spot is the fact that all of these athletes will be in school spring semester."
Fulmer said Taylor has passed enough total hours, but was ineligible under a new NCAA policy that requires players to pass six hours within the grade requirements of their major.
The junior started all 13 games this season, even as he battled a turf toe injury, and leads Tennessee receivers with 73 catches for 1,000 yards. He was only four receptions short of setting the school single-season record.
McCoy, a sophomore, has also started each game this season and is second on the team with 106 tackles. Bolden, a junior, started all 12 of the games he played, but was suspended against Louisiana-Lafayette for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Also ineligible to play are free safety Ricardo Kemp, wide receiver Kenny O'Neal and linebacker Chris Donald.
Kemp has played in every game this season and has two sacks. O'Neal caught two passes for a total of 59 yards this season.
Twelve football players graduated earlier this month with bachelor's degrees and another earned his master's degree. Forty players had a semester grade point average of 3.0 or better and 15 earned a GPA of 3.5 or better.
"I am proud of the young men that did a job well done," Fulmer said.