August 26, 2009
To recap: The NCAA had been holding Tennessee fans hostage for the last week by declaring one of the brightests stars of the '09 recruiting class ineligible while it cleared up the fundraising behind a bus tour Brown took with a dozen or so other prospects to various college campuses when he was in the tenth grade. In addition to sponsors Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Texas Roadhouse, trainer Brian "I am Not an Agent" Butler allegedly collected money for the trip from four anonymous donors, at least one of whom was an NFL player who had come through Butler's program. Some part of that process raised enough of a red flag for the NCAA to slap Brown with sanctions last week, which we learned today included a four-game suspension and an order to pay back a "substantial amount of money" for the indiscretion. The Association dropped all of those charges today in response to a Tennessee appeal.
No word on the status of the broader invesitgation into Butler, the specifics of the alleged offense or the amount of money Brown had been ordered to repay along with the suspension. But he apparently will be on the field for UT's opener with Western Kentucky and, far more importantly, for early dates with UCLA and Florida, unless one of karma's many allies in the Neyland Stadium turf do the job the NCAA could not.
So yes, Vols, let the rocks of Knoxville sing with your rejuvenated optimism. (Just don't actually sing while you're doing it, or it'll cost you.)