Conspicuously absent from Tennessee’s news release on disciplinary action taken against players involved in Thursday’s night bar brawl in Knoxville was any mention of Da’Rick Rogers.
Rogers, a freshman wide receiver from Calhoun, was one of two Vols arrested after that 1:50 a.m. incident at Bar Knoxville on the Cumberland Avenue entertainment strip near the UT campus. The other, sophomore safety Darren Myles, was dismissed the team.
Myles, a Carver graduate from Atlanta, was charged by Knoxville police with assault, evading arrest and resisting arrest. It was his second arrest in three months, hence his dismissal. Two other players were suspended indefinitely.
Rogers was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But there was no mention of the five-star wide receiver in the statement released by coach Derek Dooley Friday afternoon.
I asked UT sports communications chief Bud Ford for an explanation.
“Coach Dooley has left it open-ended pending the completion of the investigation,” Ford said Saturday. “I can confirm is that [Rogers] was one of [the UT] people that was at that location. There were nine or 10. I don’t know, it could be an internal situation.”
Ford said he did not know any specifics about the accusations against Rogers or any of the other players except what had been disclosed publically by police. He said Dooley is conducting his own independent investigation.
“I believe Coach Dooley knows what happened,” Ford said. “He’s looking at it from the standpoint of whether they handled the situation how he expects them to handle it. He said his investigation will be based on his standards.”
From initial police reports, Rogers’ role in unclear. Also uncertain are the roles of sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls and sophomore linebacker Greg King — both of whom were indefinitely suspended by Dooley.
Myles is alleged to have struck an off-duty police officer when a fight that started inside the bar moved outside. Myles then ran away and, at one point, was hiding underneath a parked car, police said.
Robert Capouellez, an off-duty Knoxville officer who tried to break up the fight, was hit in the head, knocked to the ground by several assailants and then kicked several times before falling unconscious. He remains hospitalized in stable condition.
“Although we are still gathering all the facts and some legal proceedings will follow, we have taken some initial levels of discipline resulting from my conversations with the student-athletes who were present,” Dooley said. “I am respectful of the process that follows with the local authorities and with our institutional guidelines and leadership.”
Myles, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound rising sophomore, was rated the No. 9 safety in America coming out of Atlanta’s Carver High. He played in seven games for the Vols last season, recording seven tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
Rogers (6-3, 215) was the top-rated prospect in Georgia last year. He set a state record for receiving yards in a season with 1,642. He was committed to UGA for eight months before switching to Tennessee days before National Signing Day in order to follow quarterback Nash Nance, his teammate and best friend, to Knoxville.
Dooley has vowed to toughen up on team discipline. The Vols have had an embarrassing stream of serious arrest in the last two years, including two players being dismissed last year after being arrested for armed robbery.
“As I have referenced on many occasions, a change in culture is achieved in time through a combination of education, discipline and support,” Dooley said. “We will aggressively continue to build on the many positive changes that have occurred over the last five months to ensure our program is represented with class and dignity.”