Head coach Phillip Fulmer has indefinitely suspended Marvin Mitchell following the senior linebacker’s arrest on a disorderly conduct charge in the wee hours of Monday morning. Alcohol apparently was involved.
Knoxville police were called to disperse a crowd at a campus-area Rocky Top Market at around 3:30 a.m., according to an affidavit obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Police said Mitchell was asked to leave after he “threatened to knock out another customer.”
Mitchell left the store, according to reports, but returned. When he was escorted from the building, Mitchell “became agitated, began to swear (at the officer) and would not leave the property,” according to the report. Police noted that Mitchell had a strong odor of alcohol.
An arraignment is scheduled for May 8. Mitchell has been released on $500 bond.
A 6-3, 235-pounder from Norfolk, Mitchell was projected to be a starter and leader for the 2006 Vols. He made two starts last fall and finished spring practice as the No. 1 middle linebacker. Now his future with UT is in limbo.
“It is disappointing for our entire team and staff to be embarrassed by a team member who did not put the team first,” Fulmer said in a prepared statement. “Marvin has the good sense to walk away; why he didn’t, I don’t know. This is his first discipline issue in four-plus years in the program. He will be suspended indefinitely and punished internally and will meet all requirements or not play next season.”
Eight Vols were either arrested or cited by police between January and July of 2005. Fulmer reportedly read the riot act to the team at this point, and there were no publicized incidents for the nine months that ensued. That streak ended in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Fulmer called a team meeting late Monday to discuss the incident with his players.
"It is a privilege, not a right, to play here,” the coach said. “I expect all involved to represent the team, the university and the community in the proper fashion or they can go somewhere else."