To Echo: Free DeAnthony Arnett

Submitted by Brian on December 30th, 2011 at 2:59 PM


Like Saban, except without the wins; a guy who made a bad decision

DeAnthony Arnett wants to leave Tennessee. This should be enough reason for Derek Dooley to release him, full stop. When Dooley left Louisiana Tech for Tennessee, he did not require the permission of Louisiana Tech. Because of the way the NCAA "just works"—to quote that guy at Indiana State—Arnett does need permission from UT if he's going to be on scholarship somewhere next season.

Dooley won't give it to him. This is because Tennessee has a "policy."

A Tennessee spokesman said Arnett is not being denied the opportunity to be released and play FBS-level football. The school has a policy of not releasing players to schools Tennessee plays or recruits against, the spokesman said.

Joe Paterno should have thought of that. "We have a policy of not disclosing the activities of sexual predators on campus." End of story. There's a policy, folks. Nothing to see here.

Arnett is the fourth Tennessee player that Derek Dooley has vindictively screwed over on a transfer. The first, All-SEC lineman Aaron Douglas, had to transfer to an Arizona JUCO for a year before transferring back to Alabama*. Dooley imposed a requirement that Douglas transfer at least eight hours away from his home in Knoxville and offered this explanation:

“I’m trying to help him. If the problem is truly at home, then he shouldn’t be at home. But if it’s not truly at home, then we think he should be at Tennessee.”

Bryce Brown was not released and had to pay his own way at Kansas State last year. JUCO QB Nick Lamaison was not released despite being third on the depth chart with no chance to play:

"They're within their legal rights to do what they're doing, but we're adults. Part of our business is to help young people develop and stay in line, but it's also to take care of them. I can see if Nick was in the plans for them, then fine. But if he's not in the plans, let him go play somewhere else."

Lamaison was an unlikely candidate to play for the Vols this season or down the road, and he never seriously threatened either Jonathan Crompton or Nick Stephens for playing time a year ago either.

Stephens transferred midway through spring practice, but like last fall, Lamaison was again clearly stuck behind two quarterbacks as junior transfer Matt Simms and freshman Tyler Bray quickly jumped him on the depth chart.

He ended up going back to JUCO for a year and then starting at UTEP. The only players Tennessee has actually let go are Todd Campbell, a little-used fifth year senior who transferred to MTSU, and backup QB Nick Stephens, who transferred to D-II Tarleton State. Anyone with the slightest bit of talent at Tennessee will not be released to play at a BCS school. QB coach leaves, dad is terribly sick, you are never ever going to play: doesn't matter. Dooley owns you.

So if you're thinking about going to Tennessee, be sure you want to play for a nepotistic failure coming off a 1-7 conference record with no track record of success hired by a total moron. It's going to cost you five figures if you're wrong.

*[Douglas died with a cocktail of drugs in his system in May. This is not relevant to the rest of the post but it seems impossible to mention his story without its tragic conclusion. Dooley didn't show up at the funeral, BTW. Quality guy.]



December 30th, 2011 at 4:10 PM ^

I don't see this situation ending well for either Arnett or Dooley.

Dooley is a lawyer and knows he has Arnett by the balls in this situation.  Arnett is probably not going to get out of this situation since he's surrounded by douchebags at UT.

Dooley is already drowning in a sea of negative PR as it is.

Meanwhile, college football gives us this special Derek Dooley keepsake moment:


O Fo Sho

December 30th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

The national media picks up om this story and runs wild with it. The kids dad is dying for gods sake. What a jackass, I would love to punch this douche in the face.


December 30th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

Well said Brian.  I submitted this note to the Tennessee athletic department this morning:

What your athletic department is doing to DeAnthony Arnett is both shameful and horrific.  The AD and football coach should be embarrassed of their actions in this manner.  Allow a young man to support his family and pursue his future.  Release DeAnthony Arnett to any school of his choosing.

If this does not take place, I hope the negative attention drawn to your football program and athletic department prevents other elite athletes from making the same mistake as DeAnthony...enrolling at Tennessee.
Expecting exactly zero response from those rocky top morons.


December 30th, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

it will be a textbook definition of "Pyrrhic victory."

I just looked up Dooley's career coaching record:

07 La Tech 5-7

08 La Tech 8-5

09 La Tech 4-8

10 TN 6-7

11 TN 5-7

The first question is how in hell he got hired at Tennessee in the first place. I'm sure the fact that his last name is Dooley had nothing to do with it.

The second question is how a guy with a career record of 28-34 can conclude he's solid enough to piss people (recruits) off like this. Nick Saban or Les Miles could pull it off because they're heavyweights right now. Dooley is like a scrawny 98-lb punk trying to throw his weight around.


December 30th, 2011 at 6:25 PM ^

I just wrote to the UT AD. Not sure (probably won't) make a difference but maybe the more emails they receive the more they will consider reversing their decision.

Maybe we should team up with MSU fans on this issue. I don't even care if he just wants to go to MSU this is morally reprehensible.

Section 1

December 30th, 2011 at 8:01 PM ^

Isn't it a good idea, prohibiting a transfer to Michigan State?   I mean, for Arnett's own good.  His safety and well-being and everything.  Keep him away from getting mixed up with the wrong sort of people.  A couple of semesters in East Lansing, and he's liable to end up in the Ingham County Jail.




December 30th, 2011 at 9:16 PM ^

Maybe some of the legal folk can help me out on this.  I understand the NCAA rules for transferring and all but how can it be legal for an institution to not allow you to go to the school you want to go to?  If another school wants to offer a scholarship, how can Tenn prohibit it?And how can the discrimination between MAC school or other be legally defensible?

The fact that they have a policy is meaningless.  Why don't they have a policy of the student has to also pay them a million dollars to get granted a transfer?

I got to believe aside from the details of his father and all... that Arnett has some legal avenues to pursue to make a good argument that what Tenn is doing, "It's OK to transfer here, but not there." is flat out illegal.  

I would love for him to pursue this to just shine a big ol spotlight on the whole dirty thing.


December 30th, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

Most reports though (if I am not mistaken) say that his father has gotten worse as the year progressed, so I see no issue at all with him leaving. We’ve benefited too much from the rule (Smith, Prince, Bullard) to really draw a line in the sand over this IMO. If anything, this seems to me like Dooley is saying “If you want to go home, that’s fine, but you won’t have a chance at an NFL career. If you want to leave me, You’re going to a crappy school with a minimal chance of ever being a successful pro.”

Either Dooley is a real asshole or there is a lot more to this story than we know

I'm having difficulty envisioning a scenario where this decision is a good thing for us. Dooley and UT look bad any way you slice it, and to accomplish what? I can see the reasons behind not granting releases to other SEC schools, but what is accomplished by denying a release to this player under these circumstances to schools that aren’t on our schedule in the next 4 years? Are we worried about opening the floodgates of players on our team jumping ship? (If so, we’ve got bigger problems than national perception.)

Even if the parental sickness isn’t the real reason he wants to transfer, it passes the smell test. Only Arnett knows the real reason, but the parental sickness certainly does seem pretty darn plausible. And if it sounds pretty darn plausible to me as a Vol fan, it sounds pretty darn plausible to everybody else in the world who hears it. Let. Him. Go.

Original is here


December 31st, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

Disclaimer: Dooley's a dick. Tennessee is a laughingstock. I think the NCAA should ban schools from prohibiting transfers to out of conference teams.

That being said, Arnett's dad was sick while the kid was being recruited. Reports are that his condition has worsened, but shouldn't the kid have recognized this possibility when considering which school to enroll in? Why go to UT in the first place?

These questions lead me to believe there are other motives in his desire to transfer (hates losing, hates UT, hates coaches, lost position coach/recruiter, etc.). For the record, I think any of those reasons is good enough to transfer and be given a release, but it makes the situation smell fishy. The father's sickness didn't weigh heavily enough to make him go to a local school, but one year later, it is enough to make him transfer? It's certainly possible, and people have a right to change their mind, but I think it is being used as a shield in this case.  Seems like a PR effort to force UT to let him go. The sad thing is that the NCAA rules allow Tennessee to have such policies that make kids use excuses like these as shields.

I guess the point of this rambling post is this: the NCAA sucks, man. It should freely allow kids to transfer wherever they like (out of conference; this should certainly account for distance-from-home problems), for any reason, so that ugly situations like this don't happen. I've just written a post criticising the decision-making skills of a teenager with a dying father, and I hate the NCAA for it.


December 31st, 2011 at 11:46 PM ^

I'm know I'm in the minority here but I don't have a problem with what UT is doing in this particular case.  I don't think UT is being spiteful. I think they are trying to teach this young man a life lesson - he's an adult and there are consequences to his decisions.  UT is not preventing this man from returning home to be near his family, they are just stating that they won't approve a transfer to UM or MSU.  As a UM fan I don't have a problem with that for the following reasons: 1.) He had scholarship offers from UM, MSU and UT. 2.) He chose UT thus turning his back on UM (Hoke) and MSU (Dantonio) last Feb.  If I were Hoke or Dantonio I'm not sure that I would automatically take him even if UT made him available.  He already turned both programs down once, and both schools are doing fine recruiting without him.  I think I would rather UM recruit a different 4 star wide receiver who wants to be at UM rather than take someone who previously turned UM down.

I know that sounds heartless, but based on his letter to the press he had known that his father was ill during his entire high school career, and yet he still chose to attend a college over 500 miles away from home. Granted his father's condition has worsened over the past year, but why would he choose to attend a school so far away in the first place if his father's health, and his parent's ability to see him play were so important to him?  Nothing about his original decision to attend UT makes much sense to me.


If his priority is truly to be close to his family, then attending CMU, EMU or WMU shouldn't be a problem for him.  These are all fine schools that would allow him to be close to home, and they wouldn't hinder him from making it to the NFL if he were good enough to do so.


I hate defending UT, but here are some things to keep in mind:  UT has expended time and money in recruiting and training this athlete.  They have also given him the opportunity to get a good college education.  Finally, by accepting UT's scholarship offer he prevented someone else from attending and playing for UT last year.