Commentary

Tennessee players arrested

Updated: January 4, 2010, 9:49 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl had to be stunned and disappointed when he recently received a phone call regarding four members of his team.

It was the Knoxville police giving the coach some bad news. Four Vols players -- including top prospect Tyler Smith -- were arrested for a variety of things, including misdemeanor drug, gun and alcohol charges. The four were arrested after being stopped by police due to speeding.

Smith, guards Melvin Goins and Cameron Tatum, plus center Brian Williams, were suspended immediately after the arrest. It is conceivable that following further investigation, Pearl may dismiss all the players involved in this incident.

My friends, I have said it many times. Athletes have to understand that they are accountable for their actions. They not only account for themselves-- they are representatives for the school whose name is on the front of the jersey.

According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana, and an open container of alcohol. Officers could not determine whether any of the players were under the influence of marijuana, though the strong odor suggested marijuana had been smoked in the car shortly before the vehicle was stopped.

The timing is terrible because No. 1 Kansas comes to Knoxville this weekend. Pearl did not need any distractions and it is uncertain if any of the four suspended players will be back to face the Jayhawks. For now, they have enough to worry about off the court.

These days, coaches not only work on the court; they have to deal with the pressure of situations off of it.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.