NCAA investigating Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown

Heralded freshman tailback Bryce Brown missed Tennessee's Tuesday football practice with soreness in his hip. There's a bigger issue, however, that may prove to be a real pain in the butt.

Head man Lane Kiffin said following the workout that the NCAA is investigating a matter that dates to Brown's sophomore year of high school and could effect his availability for the Vols' Sept. 5 opener against Western Kentucky. The coach said the situation is not academic-related, which means it must be an eligibility matter.

Kiffin did not specify the nature of the investigation but The Knoxville News-Sentinel website, GoVolsXtra.com, is reporting that it involves money raised to send a group of players (including Brown) to some camps.

Although he said UT's recruitment of Bryce Brown is not at issue, Kiffin characterized the situation as "very unfortunate" and "pretty upsetting."

Brown missed the last half of Monday's practice with a minor hip injury. He suited up for Tuesday's workout but subsequently removed his shoulder pads and spent most of the session pedaling an exercise bike on the sidelines.

With Brown out of action, fellow freshman David Oku got most of the practice repetitions on Tuesday. Senior Montario Hardesty, the projected starter at tailback, continues to see very little contact work in preseason. Sophomore Tauren Poole, following another big scrimmage performance last Saturday, also had a reasonably light day on Tuesday.

Brown, a 6-0, 218-pounder, was rated the No. 1 prospect in America by Scout.com last winter after rushing for 1,872 yards and 30 touchdowns at Wichita East High School.

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